South Africa’s citrus industry fears that more than R654 million worth of fruit – already on the way to Europe – may be destroyed by authorities there.
About 3.2 million cartons of fruit will arrive in the European Union (EU) after 14 July, when the European Union’s new regulations for Southern African citrus kick in.
The impact of the regulation is a threat to South Africa’s 800 000 tons of annual export to Europe.
Business Insider reports that the European Union’s (EU) new cold-treatment regulations which were voted for last month will force southern African countries to implement extreme cold treatment to tackle false codling moth (FCM).
More properly called Thaumatotibia leucotreta, the moth is known to feed on anything from avocado to maize, making its small and inconspicuous eggs a feared contaminant in fruit shipments.
Deon Joubert, the Citrus Growers’ Association’s (CGA) special envoy for market access and EU matters said:
These regulations make extensive changes to the current applicable phytosanitary requirements for citrus coming from South Africa.
They require that imports of citrus fruit must undergo specified mandatory cold treatment processes and precooling steps for specific periods (up to 25 days of cold treatment) before importation… before consignments are shipped.
The CGA views the new regulations as drastic and misinformed. It said its management protocols have effectively protected against pests and diseases.
The new regulations will also virtually force South African growers to halt exporting organic and “chem-free” oranges, which are prone to chilling injury.
Joubert added that South Africa is currently engaging with its EU counterparts to reconsider the new regulations.