PRESS RELEASE: UDM welcomes EU citrus talks
The UDM welcomes the announcement that the International Relations Department and the European Union have begun talks after plans were put in place to halt SA citrus from entering Europe.
Discussions held in Belgium have been accelerated and scientific research will continue into the citrus spot problem. The spot is a fungal disease which affects the external appearance of the fruit.
This is against the background that in 1993 the EU declared citrus black spot a phytosanitary measure. This meant it was placed on a trade watch-list at EU borders. If spotty fruit was found, the consignment would be impounded.
On Sunday, South Africa's ambassador to Belgium Mxolisi Nkosi said the EU wanted to stop some citrus fruit imports from African country.
"There is a trend of rising protectionism that the EU is using to threaten to block some of our exports, including citrus exports," he said on Sunday, during an unofficial meeting with South African diplomats at his home in Brussels. Nkosi said at the time that the citrus sector contributed around R6-billion to South Africa's gross domestic product (GDP).
The rise in citrus production was mainly due to the increase in cultivation areas, packaging and transport improvements, and preferences for healthier food options. But citrus harvesting and production in most of Europe continued to decline, particularly at the present time of year, due to the weather.
Statement issued by Bantu Holomisa, UDM President
For media enquiries please contact Zaheera Seedat on 073 910 4088