The South African citrus industry, which employs more than 140,000 workers and generates about R30-billion in export revenue, is under threat after the EU suddenly introduced measures SA says are unjustified, disruptive to trade and impossible to implement.

Stringent new measures relating to the export of citrus — primarily oranges — from southern Africa to the European Union have been implemented under recently revised and adopted regulations by the European Commission (Annex VII to Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/2072).

The requirements came into effect on 24 June 2022 and have been implemented since 14 July 2022. Although some South African citrus consignments were already on their way to Europe before the new regulations were implemented, they have also been affected.

The new regulations amend the plant health rules, primarily those on the false codling moth. Before being exported, citrus from southern Africa is now required to undergo cold treatment at temperatures between 0°C to -1°C for at least 25 days.

According to the EU, the measures are intended to prevent the introduction and spread of Phyllosticta citricarpa — citrus black spot — in the European market. Citrus black spot is a fungal disease that affects citrus fruit development.

South African citrus…

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