Citrus black spot regulations still a challenge

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Some citrus farmers in Limpopo say European countries’ regulations around the trade of citrus products due to the citrus black spot are still a challenge. Citrus farmers started to harvest oranges towards the middle of June.

Citrus grower Benard Voster from Letsitele outside Tzaneen says some countries where citrus is exported still consider black spot harmful.

“Certainly black spot is still a big issue for us, for the last 14/15 years that we are battling with the Trading Embargo that is my point of view that the European Union has enforced on us, because scientifically we have proved that it is not harmful to any human and it’s not harmful to their citrus production because scientifically it has been proven.”

Chief Executive of the Citrus Growers’ Association Justin Chadwick says compliance to the regulations that the European Union has introduced is costing growers close to R2 billion.

“We are faced with this emergency measures from the European Union that actually add R1,86 billion to our cost every year so it is a significant cost for us to have to comply. We have been with the minister of trade and industry and we are now now engaging with unions through the minister of GTIC.”