Spanish association calls for action against South African citrus

August 30 , 2013

Spain's Young Farmer's Association (Asaja) in Huelva called for immediate action by the European Union following the year's fifth black spot detection in citrus shipments from South Africa.grapefruit_red_ ffp

Earlier in the year, five detections has been established as the maximum before cutting the South African product off from the European market. Until now, however, shipments appear to be arriving as normal to importers in the Netherlands.

"Asaja-Huelva considers it vitally important that the European Union act quickly and forcefully to put the established mechanisms in place to avoid the spread of canker among European producers," the organization said in a press statement Thursday.

"Everything indicates that since the fifth detection in the Netherlands a few days ago that shipments from South Africa continue to arrive without the European administration having taken any action."

In March, Asaja denounced the South African citrus industry for its possible phytosanitary risks.

"The Spanish citrus sector ... is suffering a series of absolutely unacceptable pressures on the part of South Africa and from certain European citrus importers with the objective to relax control measures for pest entrance," the organization said in March.

"Spanish citrus representative demand that the European Commission remain firm and not fall to the pressure campaign, which would put vegetable sanitation in serious danger for a crop that, in Spain alone, offers exports worth around €3 billion."

According to Asaja's most recent statement, measures against South Africa should not be interpreted as anti-competitive.

"Asaja-Huelva wants to make clear that this is not an issue of competition, since production does not overlap at any time of the year. But this does pose a serious phytosanitary problem and would be another move toward permissiveness by the European Union," it said.

The organization criticized the European Union for what it perceived as overly lax border controls, contrasted by strict policies for its own producers.

www.freshfruitportal.com

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