It is unlikely that the EU measures to ban South African citrus due to the occurrence of false codling moth are at all politically motivated, says a trade expert. The European regulations are logical and the measures have not been introduced overnight, says Dr Martin Cameron, managing director of Trade Research Advisory. The EU’s measures on false codling moth came into effect in June this year, when much South African citrus was already on its way to Europe.
The measures involve the introduction of new phytosanitary (plant health) requirements for grapefruit and soft citrus, and extreme cooling for oranges. Cargoes of South Africa’s export citrus to Europe did not meet the standards and lay at ports for weeks until the Netherlands and Italy finally gave permission for them to enter these countries. However, this was on the condition that the fruit would undergo extra cooling.
The Citrus Growers Association estimates that the industry suffered a loss of R200 million due to the citrus lying on ships in ports for so long and not being unloaded.