The agrarian organization AVA-Asaja has reported that the European Union "is considering banning" the active phytosanitary substance sulfoxaflor, an insecticide used in the fight against the South African cotonet. This, in the opinion of the organization, "threatens to further hinder the fight against this insect and result in greater damages to citrus and kakis."
According to the organization, the list of authorized substances against the South African cotonet was limited in 2020 to sulfoxaflor and acetamiprid, following the ban of chlorpyrifos and methyl chlorpyrifos. Meanwhile, "there are serious doubts about the degree of implantation, price and effectiveness against the pest of the biological control solutions that the administrations are currently studying."
Consequently, AVA-Asaja denounced that "Brussels is actively banning ingredients without providing European producers with more sustainable alternatives that are both economically viable and proven to be effective against pests and diseases."
The president of AVA-Asaja, Cristóbal Aguado, also considers it "unacceptable that the EU is causing this health disaster while third countries continue to export their citrus fruits treated with active substances that are prohibited to EU growers."
In fact, the agricultural organization reports that the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (Rasff) has notified "at least" 15 interceptions of citrus shipments (tangerines, oranges and lemons) from Turkey treated with chlorpyrifos and methyl chlorpyrifos in the last two months. The EU countries that detected these cases are Bulgaria, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary and Poland.
In view of this situation, Aguado said that "the EU continues to put pressure on European fruit and vegetable producers. I don't know what else has to happen for Brussels to understand that a radical change in its phytosanitary policy is needed; one that will offer effective solutions against pests and diseases to European producers, instead of more problems."
"This will make it necessary to impose scientific criteria and not just follow ideological postulates. We should also have more investment in research and aim to eliminate the unfair competition from third countries," he said.
Losses in other Spanish regions
According to AVA-Asaja estimates, the losses caused by the South African cotonet after the ban of two other compounds (chlorpyrifos and methyl chlorpyrifos) "have skyrocketed. This season alone, up to 150 million Euro have been reported by citrus and kaki producers in the Region of Valencia," said the organization in a statement.