A decision by the European Union over whether to or not to extend an EU ban on South African citrus imports has been deferred until the end of March.
The ban was originally implemented by the European Commission’s Standing Committee on Plant Health in late 2013 – after the South African season – in order to prevent citrus blackspot infecting Europe’s blackspot-free citrus crop.
As the 2014 season approaches, commencing around April, the issue has become critical for citrus growers, shippers and logistics companies serving the North-South trade lanes.
A long-awaited scientific report from the European Food Safety Authority, which effectively supports the ban, was discussed by the committee late last week.
A commission spokesman told The Coolstar: “The member states have had a discussion about the report from EFSA and they have agreed to have another meeting at technical level with the experts and to then have it on the agenda when the committee meets again at the end of this month, with a view to taking a decision on whether measures against South Africa will have to be prolonged and for how long.”