President Ramaphosa must urgently intervene in citrus crisis

Issued by Mat Cuthbert MP & Noko Masipa MP –
14 Jul 2022 in News

Please find attached soundbite by Noko Masipa MP.

The DA is calling on President Cyril Ramaphosa to intervene in the potential looming crisis South African citrus exporters and farmers are facing as a matter of urgency.

A decision – which comes into effect today – by the European Union Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (SCoPAFF), which requires citrus imported from South Africa to undergo extreme cold treatment to mitigate and circumvent false codling moth (FCM) contamination, could lead to a loss of millions of rands in income and could potentially lead to thousands of job losses.

Given the country’s minimal incidents of FCM infection over the past three years, President Ramaphosa should argue that South Africa be exempt from the regulations as countries with many more recorded incidents do not have to comply. The regulations do not take into account the damage the extreme cooling will have on the fruit, nor the effective cooling protocols that South Africa already implements to limit contamination.

If SCoPAFF refuses to budge on enforcing the regulations, the President must plead for more time to comply. With tons of citrus exports already on their way to European markets at the time of the regulations’ publication, and without ready alternative markets, three weeks leaves South Africa with no reasonable time to implement protocols and practices to comply.

We also urge President Ramaphosa to use the review process of the developmental concessions contained in the Southern African Development Community European Union Economic Partnership Agreement (SADC-EU EPA) to request a review and relaxation of the phytosanitary standards the European Union (EU) have in place for Southern African Development Community (SADC) exports. The citrus situation is a perfect example of how such regulations often places a heavier burden on the region despite its high food production standards.