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EU ends ban on Argentine citrus imports

EU ends ban on Argentine citrus imports © Plantaciones de Limon

© Plantaciones de Limon


The European Commission has lifted its ban on citrus imports from Argentina. Trade was suspended last August following a number of interceptions of Citrus Black Spot in shipments. Argentina’s plant health authority Senasa said the new measure would come into effect on 1 May.

Senasa’s president, Carlos Paz, said the lifting of the ban followed concerted efforts by the public and private sectors to strengthen control measures in the field and packhouse and increase the number of staff on its regional teams in order to improve the monitoring and supervision of citrus exports.

Citrus accounts for four out of every ten fruits that Argentina exports and the EU is one of its biggest markets, taking around 200,000 tons of citrus in the last five years.

The measures and conditions for the re-entry of citrus fruit to the EU include additional actions that must be carried out both by the different actors of the private and public sectors.

These include mandatory field application of phytosanitary treatments against Black Spot; official verification of the application of these treatments; laboratory analysis of the fruit sampled both in the field and in packaging when suspicious symptoms of the disease are detected; official communication to the EU of the lists of production units and names of the companies responsible for the units, as well as updates to these lists.

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Russia to temporarily remove ban on imports of basic goods

Russia has temporarily lifted the ban on imports of basic goods. The measure announced by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin took effect on Friday 19th March and will last a month. “From tomorrow all restrictions on supplies of essential goods, including customs restrictions will be lifted for one month. We are introducing a green route for importers and large retail chains. A zero customs duty rate is set for the import of a number of goods, including medicines and medical devices,” said Mishustin, who underlined the importance of Russian industries increasing and accelerating the production of medical devices, which are now in high demand. 

Mishustin noted that the coronavirus pandemic has already had a serious impact on the export of goods and services. There are also a number of barriers in the domestic market. Speaking about the development of agricultural sector, the Prime Minister stressed the need to raise the income levels of rural residents. 

The Prime Minister stated that Russia has enough foodstuffs and the authorities will do everything to ensure that stores do not have empty shelves. “Many European countries now see feverish demand for food because of the spread of coronavirus infection. We have enough food products, we will continue to do everything so that our people can buy fresh products – bread, milk, meat – and the shops do not have empty shelves,” he said.

However, the European agricultural sector is uncertain what to make of the Russian government’s announcement. Meeuwes Brouwer of the Agriculture Council in Russia said, “We are currently verifying the news. The news published by Itar-TASS comes from a speech last week by the new Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin. This speech was translated by the news agency. We are now investigating whether this translation has been placed in the right context. There is doubt about the term ‘essential goods’.”

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Brazil to reopen borders to Argentina’s apples and pears

Brazil to reopen borders to Argentina’s apples and pears

Following several weeks of closure, Brazil has agreed to lift its ban on Argentinian pears, apples, and quinces entering the country. The agreement was reached during meetings on Wednesday, March 6, between officials from the two countries seeking a resolution to the issues which led to the border closure on February 27. Brazil’s Department of Plant Health and Agricultural Consumption intercepted 9 shipments of Argentinian fruit with carpocapsa in January and February.

Technicians from the National Plant Protection Directorate of Senasa explained how it intends to strengthen pest control in the Alto Valle. Industry representatives claim that only 500 of a total of 1,200 officially recognised producers in the Upper Valley of Rio Negro and Neuquen currently comply with all the control regulations. However, the government of Rio Negro disagrees with this assessment: “There are very few producers that do not carry out controls and there are 3,000 hectares of abandoned fruit trees; that weighs more than inefficient controls,” said a provincial source to Telam, as reports

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Putin prolongs Western food ban

Spanish fruit and vegetable growers are among those asking the European Commission to urgently adopt new aid measures for them amid Russia’s extension of its veto on certain Western food imports.

Spanish fruit and vegetable growers are among those asking the European Commission to urgently adopt new aid measures for farmers amid Russia’s extension of its veto on certain Western food imports.

The Russian move came in retaliation to the EU decision to prolong until January sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine conflict.

Russia’s original ban – which applied to food products including vegetables, fruit, beef, pork, fish and dairy products from the EU, the US, Canada, Norway and Australia – was introduced last August. Yesterday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced he was extending it, “by one year beginning from today.”

Fepex, the Spanish federation of associations of producers and exporters of fruit, vegetables, flowers and live plants, immediately called on the European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan to extend the exceptional measures used by the Commission to help EU fruit and vegetable growers affected by the existing ban.

In a letter to Hogan, Fepex said the Russian ban on the import of EU fruit and vegetables in force since last August had deprived the Spanish fruit and vegetable sector of the top non-EU export market. “There are no alternative markets that can compensate for this loss,” it said.

Fepex calculates Spanish fruit and vegetable exports to non-EU countries in the first quarter of this year were down 17% – a total of 218 million tons – on the same period in 2014. It said the extension of the veto “will worsen a major crisis in the EU summer fruit market” and called for the Commission to urgently adopt market crisis management measures.

Meanwhile, Murcia’s Ramón Luis Valcárcel Siso, a member of the European Parliament from Spain’s ruling Partido Popular party, in a written question in the Parliament has called for stone fruit to be covered under the earlier exceptional support measures.

He said these existing measures did not contain any exceptional support for Spanish plums, table grapes, kiwifruit, peaches, apricots or nectarines.

“Exports to alternative markets have not absorbed the 60,698 tons which were previously exported to Russia. Measures need to be taken therefore to prevent prices falling as they did between 2013 and 2014 (by 32.3% for plums, 36.7% for yellow flesh peaches and 44.9% for yellow flesh nectarines). The marketing season started in April and farmers are now extremely concerned,” he said.

Photo of Russian President Vladimir Putin: [CC BY 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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Recent impact of Russian ban on prices for certain EU produce

European Commission presentation on the impact of the Russian import ban on prices for certain fruits and vegetables.

There’s been an upward trend for mushroom prices and stable prices for pears, carrots, kiwis, and oranges and lemons in the EU, according to the European Commission.

But the price situation for tomatoes and peppers has been mixed and there’s been a downward trend for apples.

That’s according to a presentation on the impact of the Russian import ban on prices for certain fruits and vegetables which the Agriculture and Rural Development Directorate made at the February 17 meeting of the Committee for the Common Organisation of the Agricultural Markets.

Hightlights of the presentation include:


Prices decreased in the two Member States with the lowest prices (-6.8% to 20 EUR/100 kg in PL and -4% to 26.6 EUR/100 kg in DE).
Prices registered stability (current prices are 8.8% under the historical average).

Prices over 3-year average (22.2% higher for oranges and 6.7% for lemons).

Significant price reduction in IT and moderate in ES (current average for tomatoes is 9,8% above the 3- year average).


Exchange rates of Dollar to both Euro and Zloty: extra-EU exports and opening new export markets more attractive, helping to restore market balance.
New export destinations: The US has lifted an old ban on imports of French apples and pears from, following a bilateral agreement on sanitary controls.
Lower supply in Southern EU due to adverse weather conditions and low temperatures: Positive impact on prices.


Positive trend:
Mushrooms (downward trend reversed last week)
Price stability:
Pears (BE price = 46.5)
Carrots (lowest prices in NL & PL)
Kiwis (prices much higher than 3-year average)
Oranges & lemons
Downward trend:
Apples (20 EUR/100 kg in PL and 26.6 in DE)
Mixed situation:


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Screenshot 2015-03-10 at 18.57.47.png


Evolution of EU prices of certain F&V
European Commission DG Agriculture and Rural Development Directorate C. Single CMO, economics and analysis of agricultural markets