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 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.