South African citrus exports to EU in jeopardy
South Africa’s Citrus Growers Association (CGA) believes that the new EU cold treatment regulations for oranges could see 3.2 million cartons of citrus currently headed to the region being destroyed by authorities. The fruit is said to be worth over US$35 million, according to Money Web.
The South African citrus industry severely opposed the new rules, saying that they are “disproportionate and unfeasible” and could lead to large gaps in the supply chain and higher prices for EU consumers.
Deon Joubert, CGA special envoy for market access and EU matters, says the regulations were published in the Official Journal of the EU on June 21, and despite several objections will be effective from July 14.
“The fact that authorities are trying to enforce these new regulations a mere 23 days after publication, making it impossible for South African growers to comply, highlights how unjustified and discriminatory this legislation is, with European consumers and local rural workers ultimately paying the price,” said Joubert.
The regulations require imports of citrus fruit to undergo specified mandatory cold treatment processes and precooling steps for specific periods, including up to 25 days of cold treatment, before shipping and subsequent importation.
It is believed that a large portion of South Africa’s commercial orange production will not be able to withstand the new prescribed cold treatment without severe damage to the fruit.