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Reports: South African citrus being detained on arrival in EU

Containers of South African citrus are being detained on arrival in the EU following the implementation of stringent new import rules, according to the Citrus Growers’ Association of Southern Africa (CGA).

The EU in late June set controversial import regulations (see regulations at bottom of article) for South African oranges in a bid to limit the entry of the False Codling Moth (FMC) pest. The CGA says the measures which relate to a stricter cold treatment protocol, are “disproportionate and unfeasible” and could lead to large gaps in the supply chain and higher prices for EU consumers. 

In an industry newsletter on Friday, the CGA said: “To date, the CGA can confirm that it has received reports of containers being detained on arrival – in some cases not only oranges, but other citrus containers as well.

“This is why World Trade Organisation (WTO) law specifically requires a 6-month process in the implementation of a new measure.”

In addition, the CGA said it had written to South African President Ramaphosa regarding the impact of the “drastic, misinformed and unjustified” new regulations.

“This includes the fact that an estimated 3.2 million cartons of citrus valued at R605 million (€38.4 million) currently en-route to the region could potentially be destroyed by authorities, in light of the new regulations being enforced from this week.”

This new legislation will have a devastating impact on the local citrus industry, in particular the 140 000 jobs it sustains, it added.

“The CGA remains hopeful that President Ramaphosa’s recent engagement with EU Council President Charles Michel will lead to the new regulations being abandoned or at the very least delayed, until they can be properly reviewed,” the group said.

The regulations require a precooling to 5oC at origin and a treatment in transit at -1oC to 2 oC degrees for 25 days.

From 2023 exporters will be able to choose from two options: a cold treatment between -1oC and 0oC for 16 days or between -1oC and 2oC for 20 days. In both cases, the operators would be required to precool at 0oC and 2oC, respectively.

Orange consignments shipped prior to June 24 will be exempt from such requirements if they arrive in Europe before 14 July.

Source article: Freshfruit Portal