Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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SA cuts citrus exports to Spain

SA cuts citrus exports to Spain

Cape Town — South Africa won’t be exporting any citrus to Spain for 2015, the Citrus Growers Association of Southern Africa says, placing added pressure on the industry. The CGA represents 1,400 growers throughout Southern Africa and the industry is valued at over R8bn. The industry’s special envoy to the European Union, Deon Joubert, told Fin24 that the Spanish authorities are unfairly targeting South Africa citrus exports and are “looking for trouble”.

In September 2014 the industry threatened to suspend exports to the EU in order to comply with EU standards against a fungal disease infecting the skin of some of their fruit.

The CGA considers citrus black spot (CBS) as a cosmetic disease and emphasises an International Panel on CBS finding which agreed that the fruit cannot be a pathway for infection. And that the climate regime in Europe cannot host CBS.

“We have found an official letter from the Spanish authority which indicates that its procedures places greater emphasis on screening South African products than other countries like Argentina and Uruguay,” Joubert said. “To continue with the campaign would be negative for the industry as approximately 3.3 percent of our product destined for Europe goes to Spain,” he said.

According to Joubert 36 percent of the CBS strikes (i.e. positive tests) registered in the EU for 2013 came from the 3.3 percent direct entries into Spain. This is comparatively high considering 1 strike out of 2, 750 in the UK and 3 out of 4, 700 in the Netherlands.

To continue exporting through Spain would endanger the supply of citrus to the rest of Europe representing over 96 percent of the EU market. “44-46 percent of South Africa’s citrus goes to Europe,” he explained.

The board of the CGA has confirmed its support for the recommendation in its news briefing to growers: “It’s in the best interest of South Africa citrus growers to request DAFF (Department of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries) to stop issuing phytosanitary certification for shipments to Spain.

This is not an easy decision as South Africa would like to supply all customers with the fruit they desire, but in the interests of securing the market and meeting the EU’s demand of reducing interceptions it is the right decision.” – Fin24.


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