The agricultural organization COAG has expressed its "most absolute indignation and rejection" regarding the EU imports of contaminated citrus fruits from third countries, after the number of interceptions of pests in community ports increased in 2020. According to COAG, the lemon sector's imports from countries such as Argentina, which accumulated almost 60 interceptions of quarantine pests, a number that is much higher than in previous years, is especially worrying.
The organization has demanded that the European Union activates additional and effective measures in citrus imports, as they consider that the current measures are insufficient to contain the entry of pests and the possible damage to the future of citrus production.
Pedro Gomariz, from the COAG, criticized the delay in reaction and claims that "the measures must be immediate, forceful, and effective to protect our crops from irreversible damage caused by pests or diseases."
The agrarian organization denounced that EU authorities were striving for trade liberalization and granting concessions on citrus imports to countries such as South Africa or within the framework of the Mercosur agreements, dropping prices in the European market, while leaving Spanish and European citrus growers absolutely defenseless as there is insufficient control on the imports' hygiene and the measures in force are too lax and inefficient.
This dramatic situation is the responsibility of the community authorities, who have opened EU borders to citrus pests and diseases, endangering the health of European plantations.