After the data regarding the month of October became public, LA UNIÓ de Llauradors reported that EU rejections of citrus fruits imports from third countries, because they had pests, had increased by 66% over the same dates of last year.
In the same period of last year, the EU rejected a total of 132 shipments. In the current year, they rejected 219. Argentina was the country of origin with the most interceptions until August when the EU suspended imports from this country until April of next year. Now, Brazil -which had the highest number of interceptions in October- has become the country of origin with the most interceptions.
Brazil went from 1 interception in all of 2019 to 13 so far this year, 9 of which took place in October. Eight of these rejections were due to the Phyllosctita citricarpa fungus that causes the dreaded black spot, and one because of the Xanthomonas bacteria or false moth. In October the EU also detections pests in 2 shipments from South Africa and China (Phyllosctita citricarpa), 1 shipment from Zimbabwe (Phyllosctita citricarpa), and 2 shipments from Tunisia (Parlatoria ziziphi or black louse).
"The above data highlights the serious danger that the signing of the EU trade agreement with Mercosur, which is still pending ratification, and the trade agreement with South Africa pose for European citrus farming. LA UNIÓ has recently requested that -since the trade agreement with South Africa has already been in force for five years- it be reviewed, as is established by the agreement," the organization stated.
LA UNIÓ proposed that the EU extend the measure of suspending citrus imports it imposed on Argentina to other countries. They demand that the European Commission carry out phytosanitary audits and suspend imports from all the countries that cannot guarantee the exit of citrus fruits without pests.
The organization insisted on the introduction of a single inspection criterion at origin for all third countries, and that imports enter through a maximum of three EU ports with a sufficient number of inspectors that are experts in citrus pests and diseases and with a representative percentage of analyzed samples. They also said that cold treatment in transport should be mandatory and that imports of citrus fruits that have been produced and manipulated with active ingredients that are not authorized in the EU should be banned.
For more information: www.launio.org