The export ban of South Africa`s citrus products from the European Union markets is a major concern and poses a threat to socio-economic development in the country, according to the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
This follows the alleged reports about the citrus black spot that was found in several citrus fruit cargos from South Africa to European markets this year which led to sudden decision by the European authorities to put immediate restrictions on the country’s citrus exports from certain identified regions. This has since been described as a serious threat to European producers and compromises their citrus industry.
The Committee is calling for urgent closer cooperation between the South African government and their European counterparts to further discuss the issue on scientific evidence and reconsider the decision while working in collaboration with the affected citrus producers in the industry to take proper control measures to ensure disease-free in the identified regions.
According to the Committee Chairperson, Mr Lulu Johnson, this untimely decision has the potential to impact negatively on the industry in terms of both the income and job losses. “As much as we believe that each party has the obligation to act in the best for its economy, as the Committee we strongly believe that it is through the continuous negotiations that an amicable solution favourable to both countries, especially their producers and consumers, can be found before this causes more unexpected harm,” said Mr Johnson.
The Committee encourages the department, together with the Perishable Products Export Control Board (PPECB), to find a way of eliminating the possible development of the citrus black spot, and equally appeal to the EU to open doors for negotiations.