Argentina: SENASA renewed measures to prevent black spot in the EU

National and provincial agencies, together with the lemon producers that make up the packaging committee of Tucuman, evaluated the current citrus campaign after the European Union detected and intercepted citrus fruit exports affected by the Phyllosticta citricarpa(Black spot).

The committee is made up of the National Health Service and Food Quality (SENASA), the National Agricultural Technology Institute (INTA), the Agro-industrial Experiment Station Obispo Colombres (EEAOC), the Ministry of Production of Tucuman, and the NOA Plant Health Association (Afinoa).

According to the evaluation, the increase in interceptions was related to a series of extraordinary environmental causes that predisposed the incidence of fungal diseases in general, and particularly of black spot, which, together with the symptomatic variability and the evolutionary characteristics of the disease, increased the likelihood of diseased fruits not being detected at the current checkpoints in force on the Fresh Fruit Export to the EU Program and other markets with similar quarantine restrictions.

According to what was reported at the meeting, there had been excessive rainfall in the summer months, up to 120% more than the historical values. Furthermore, the rainy days and wet leaf hours had doubled and even tripled, so the fungicide application plans were not as effective as desired. 

The frost during the 2013 season, which had historical records in intensity and duration, caused a physiological disorder so the plants produced extemporaneous flowers and fruits that escaped the planned health treatment program.

Senasa reported through the statement that it would implement a number of adjustments to the current Certification Program nationwide in order to deal with the issues identified during this season so as to minimize the risk of interception of black spot in the EU for the 2016 season.

The implementation of the adjustment measures were discussed during the meeting with the packing committee, where it was stressed that 70% of Tucuman's lemon exports were destined for the EU.

Thus, the Senasa and the local citrus industry strengthened their commitment and actions to ensure the guarantees required by the EU market for exports of Argentinian citrus, as they have successfully done for many years.

Additional measures for the 2016 campaign include:

- The presentation of a plan for appropriate preventive applications of pesticides and cultural practices to control Phyllosticta citricarpa, which will be mandatory for those establishments that had interceptions in the European Union in the 2015 season.

- Extending official in situ inspections (which are currently only binding for Canker certification) in search of symptoms of the Phyllosticta citricarpa.

-Shortening the validity of the last inspection prior to harvest to 15 days (as it is currently 30 days).

- Implementing a new inspection point prior to a packaged batch exiting the inspection point. This checkpoint will be random and it will be directed at batches that take more than 10 days between the packing process and the dispatch points.

- Continuing implementing PCR techniques in the presence of doubtful symptoms.


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