South African citrus exports to the EU to drop by 20%

South African citrus exports to the EU to drop by 20%

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South African citrus exports to the EU to drop by 20%

Updated European Union pest control regulations are expected to cut South African citrus exports by 20% in 2023, according to the Citrus Growers Association (CGA) and as reported by Reuters.

The association says that oranges would be the most affected crop.

As of June, citrus exports into the EU will require enhanced cold treatment. This means the fruit will need to be pre-cooled to below 35.6°F for 20 days before being shipped.

This comes as the economic community seeks to prevent the spread of citrus black spot and false codling moth.

The latter is a pest commonly found in sub-Saharan Africa. However, the sector argues that its current management system effectively ensures that 99.9% of the fruit is pest free upon entering the EU.

Related articles: Despite rain, South African citrus shipping to U.S.

"Current estimates are that around 20% of oranges produced for Europe will not be shipped this year because of the new regulations," CGA President Justin Chadwick said in a statement.

The executive says that about 80,000 tons of South African oranges “might not make it to European supermarket shelves,” referring to the new measures as “unfair and discriminatory”

To comply with regulations, the South African citrus sector is looking at a $75 million investment in new technology.

The CGA is urging officials to discuss the new measures at a joint meeting of African Union and EU agriculture ministers, held June 30  in Rome. 

South Africa is the world’s second citrus provider, behind Spain, with roughly 30% of its orange volumes exported into the EU in 2022.

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