This follows the European Union (EU) announcing a ban on citrus imports from some areas in South Africa for the rest of the year. The future of the countries imports will be determined by a report from the European Food Safety Authority on the citrus fungal disease, black spot.
More than 36 consignments of citrus from South Africa had been found to have black spot. Citrus black spot is a fungal disease that manifests on the rind of fruit but does not affect the fruit itself.
However, the EU is concerned that it will affect their orchards. The outcome of the black spot report will determine citrus exports to the EU in future.
“It is a major concern and poses a threat to socio-economic development in the country,” said the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in a statement.
The Committee called for the EU to reconsider the decision and to “discuss the issue on scientific evidence”. It stated that it is willing to assist those farmers in South Africa affected by the fungus.
According to Lulu Johnson the chairperson of the Committee he is worried about job losses but he believes an amicable solution is possible. “It is a sad day for trade. It (black spot) does not pose a threat to the EU industry,” he said.