French cherries increasingly scarce due to pesticide ban

French emergency decree keeps American cherries off the French market

On 8 April 2020, France published its fifth emergency decree. It prohibits cherry imports from certain countries. These are countries that allow the use of the chemical, dimethoate, in cherry cultivation. The EU has not yet determined this pesticides' residual maximum value.

That is why, despite the ban on dimethoate's use, France took this decision. This governmental ban means French cherry cultivation keeps shrinking. As a result of this emergency regulation, the USA cannot export any cherries to France.

The United States used to export about $1 million's (more than €915,000) worth of cherries to France annually. That was before 2016 when the ban was implemented. French cherries are becoming increasingly scarce with French growers no longer having access to dimethoate. Therefore, production is decreasing, and production costs are increasing in France. 

The French market allows Turkish cherries
As in 2019, the 2020 ban excludes Turkey from the list of countries not allowed to ship cherries to France. French cherry farmers claim Turkish growers are using the banned chemical illegally. They, therefore, have an unfair cultivation advantage. This is riling French farmers up. Turkey does not allow dimethoate's use in cherry cultivation. Even so, in 2016 and 2017, the French export market excluded it. France is an important export market for Turkish cherries. 

The French Ministry for Agriculture has placated the defiant French farmers. They say Turkey has provided France with extensive documentation. Included are thousands of residue tests. These show there is no dimethoate residue on Turkish cherries.

Fruit importers and traders fear France may introduce a similar domestic use. They are also concerned about an import ban on other EU-approved pesticides. That would disrupt the free fruit and vegetable flow. This flow is from the EU and third-party countries to France.

Source: USDA

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