Spain’s CGC bemoans country’s “irrelevance” in plant health and accuses IVIA of turning its back on the export sector
The European Commission (EC) has recently appointed the five centres or consortiums that will serve as European Reference Laboratories (EURL) in the field of plant health. These entities will be responsible for performing the analyses to confirm possible positive by pests and diseases from the samples taken in the ports to the horticultural imports of third countries or phytosanitary controls in the field. Well, despite the evident strategic importance of such designations, the Ministry of Agriculture has not presented candidatures in favour of any Spanish centre. Thus, most of EURL has been left to the centres of non-producing Member States, rather, large fruit and vegetable importers. This has happened with the Netherlands, which will now be responsible for setting analytical methods and for confirming on a community scale the possible cases that could occur in pathogens as serious as Xylella, Huanglongming (HLB) or Citrus canker. In the opinion of the president of the Citrus Management Committee (CGC), Manuel Arrufat, the “passivity demonstrated” by the Spanish authorities when applying to entities such as the IVIA -which is the national centre of reference in bacteriosis such as those cited- “Evidence of the irrelevance of Spain in the field of plant health”.
The CGC (Comite de Gestion de Citricos) of Spain is angry that the country has not applied for any of the five new EU reference laboratories for pests and diseases: decision centres and technical knowledge about controls on diseases such as Xylella or HLB are now in the hands of importing countries such as the Netherlands. Moreover, the CGC has highlighted that the draft bill to reform the IVIA continues to exclude from its governing bodies the CGC, whose members have a large production – almost 70% of exports – which will divert private investment from the centre.