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South Africa expresses concern with EU ban on citrus import

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Monday, 02 December 2013

South Africa expresses concern with EU ban on citrus import

The South African Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (PPCAFF) said on Friday 30 November that the ban of the European Union (EU) on imports of South African citrus products is a "major concern" and "poses a threat" to the country's socio-economic development and that of the region. The ban followed reports about citrus "black spot" that was found in citrus fruit cargos from South Africa to European this year.
This led to a sudden decision by the EU to ban imports of citrus from South Africa. Citrus "black spot" is a fungal disease that could infect local crops. "This untimely decision has the potential to impact negatively on the industry in terms of both the income and job losses," committee Chairperson Lulu Johnson said in a statement.
South Africa's future citrus exports to Europe will be determined by a report on black-spot disease to be released by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) at the end of next month. "As much as we believe that each party has the obligation to act in the best for its economy, as the committee we strongly believe that it is through the continuous negotiations that an amicable solution favourable to both countries, especially their producers and consumers, can be found before this causes more unexpected harm," said Johnson.
Johnson said his committee is calling for "urgent closer" cooperation between the South African government and their European counterparts to further discuss the issue on scientific evidence and reconsider the decision while working in collaboration with the affected citrus producers in the industry to take proper control measures to ensure disease-free in the identified regions.
The South Africa's citrus industry maintains that citrus black spot poses no risk either to consumers or to orchards in EU countries.

Source: GlobalPost.com