The European Union (EU) is due to make the False Codling Moth a regulated pest from next year, in a development that will have implications for South Africa's citrus and stonefruit industries.
A message on the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization (EPPO) said the pest, known scientifically as Thaumatotibia leucotreta, had now been added to the EPPO A2 List.
The list specifies the pests that are locally present in the EPPO region that it recommends for regulation by member states.
The regulation states that crops including citrus, bell peppers, peaches, nectarines and pomegranates must be subjected to "an effective cold treatment...or another effective treatment" to ensure freedom from FCM.
The measures will apply to the African continent, Cape Verde, Saint Helena, Madagascar, La Reunion, Mauritius and Israel.
"The FCM is going to be a regulated pest from January next year, and that impacts on any host plant or fruit that is being exported to the EU," Citrus Growers Association of Southern Africa (CGA) CEO Justin Chadwick told Fresh Fruit Portal.
"Any fruits that are hosts to FCM will now be subject to those requirements."
He said inspectors in EU member states were not currently obliged to report on the pest if it was detected, but this would no longer be the case from next year.
"If we get too many interceptions it will indicate that we cannot control the pest, and then the EU plant health authorities will be in discussions to ensure that trade continues under those circumstances," he said.
He said the industry would be able to manage the new requirements, adding the change had been anticipated.
In July, CGA special envoy for market access and EU matters Deon Joubert said five interceptions of FCM had been made in South African citrus consignments in France during June.
He had therefore expected the FCM would be a notifiable disease as of next season in the EU.
“This was an extremely volatile process and SA had to draw on all its resources towards the end of last year to keep the pending EU legislation from just becoming a “shut-out” for SA citrus,” he said in a statement sent in July.
“Through meticulous planning, collaboration with all interested groups, organising WTO [World Trade Organization] legal and policy submissions, suggesting workable alternatives and lastly very strong support from friends and contacts in the EU, we were able to get a text going into legislation on FCM, which will not be easy for SA but workable.”
It was therefore essential to have the entire South Africa citrus industry’s full support to finalize a workable competent FCM risk management system for 2018, he said.
New registration platform for stonefruit
South African grower body Hortgro announced the new FCM legislation on July 31, saying it would come into effect during the 2017-18 stonefruit season and be applicable to peaches and nectarines.
It said all orchards intended for export to the EU and U.K. must register through an online platform managed by the industry with the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF).
The platform will be called the 'Peach and Nectarine FCM Management System'.