Despite the suspension of Argentine citrus imports decreed by the European Union, which entered into force on August 16, 2020, and will last until April 30, 2021, the sector reported that the shipments that were in transit to Europe when the ban came into force had arrived without problems at the Dutch port of Rotterdam and the Spanish port terminals of Barcelona and Algeciras.
According to the National Agricultural Food Health and Quality Service (Senasa), the shipments contained about 9,273 tons of oranges and 243 tons of mandarin.
There still were some doubts about the deadline for their arrival, which had been set for September 5, but the chambers of the sector recognized the EU had given them some flexibility.
"This Spanish blockade came in a scenario of good expectations for the export of oranges, as prices were better than in 2019," stated Jose Carbonell, the president of Argentina's Citrus Federation (Federcitrus). According to partial estimates of this value chain, so far 70% of the 60,000 tons projected for 2020 have been exported.
The fruit that couldn't be exported to Europe could be destined for other markets, such as Russia, Arabia, and Canada. According to Federcitrus, the next steps will be Senasa's audits in NOA and NEA. "Europe will carry out audits, which will be decisive for the reopening of that market," Carbonell acknowledged.
At the same time, Argentina also relies on negotiations with the United Kingdom's Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to manage the entry of oranges into that country.