Argentina's Ministry of Agriculture has reported that, after 20 years, the European Union has reopened its market to the country's organic citrus; thanks in part to the efforts made by the National Agricultural Health Service (SENASA).
The European Commission's Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development (DG AGRI) has informed Senasa that it accepts the proposal to use sodium bicarbonate as a post-harvest treatment for organic citrus exports to the EU. The European Commission's Directorate General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE) had previously approved the use of this product as a disinfectant against citrus canker caused by the Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri bacterium.
With this measure, Argentina can now export this fruit to the EU, which was not possible until now because the country did not have a post-harvest treatment that was accepted by DG AGRI.
The EU's permission to restart organic citrus imports after two decades is the result of the joint efforts of Argentina's National Directorates of Plant Protection (DNPV) and Food Safety and Quality (DNICA) and the General Coordinator for International Relations of Senasa, under the current equivalence agreements with the EU.
The measure taken by the European government will have a positive effect on the cultivation of organic citrus in Argentina, which today has an area of 3,342 hectares, and promote the development of regional economies.
Between 2001 and 2003, Senasa certified 2,500 tons of organic citrus (mainly oranges and lemons) for shipment to the EU.