After a request was made to the USDA, Egyptian citrus might be on the way to the US. A pest risk assessment has been drafted by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). According to President Jim Cranney of the California Citrus Quality Council, the assessment is for fresh oranges and tangerines, which would be problematic for California growers.
“This is a very big threat to the California citrus industry because the fruit that Egypt produces is very low cost in terms of their production. They could land very cheap fruit in the U.S. market that would be directly competing with California production,” said Cranney. “We’ve all been telling APHIS that this would be a calamity really for the California citrus industry.”
Cranney said while there is a sizable number of exports, the US is where the majority of the industry’s marketing efforts are focused. Egyptian citrus moving into the US would have a significant impact on the competitiveness of American producers.