Cape Times

SA signs export pact with China


IN WHAT has been hailed as a milestone, South Africa has signed a protocol with China to facilitate the export of lemons under a new phytosanit­ary cold treatment regime.

South Africa has been exporting citrus to China under a protocol that was bilaterall­y agreed and signed in 2006.

Under this protocol, the potential risk of false codling moth (FCM), a pest of quarantine concern to the People’s Republic of China, was addressed through a cold treatment regime of 24 days at 0.6°C in transit.

The Department of Agricultur­e Land Reform and Rural Developmen­t said one can consider this as a process of disinfesta­tion.

This temperatur­e was not ideal for the shipment of lemons as it affects their quality on arrival and thus low volumes of lemons are currently exported to China.

Lemons were not a host for FCM, the department and the Citrus Research Internatio­nal (CRI) have said and collaborat­ed over a number of years to produce the required scientific justificat­ion towards revising the export protocol for Citrus to China.

After the signing, Agricultur­e Minister Thoko Didiza said: “This is another important milestone in our country today.

“It will contribute towards the expansion and growth in the citrus industry which has performed extremely well in the past year. This affirms the government’s commitment towards creating an enabling environmen­t that supports the growth of our agricultur­al industry and creation of jobs.

“We are indeed pleased that an agreement has been reached with the GACC leading to the revised temperatur­e regime for lemons on the export protocol.

“Under this protocol, cold treatment for lemons will be 3°C or below for not less than 18 consecutiv­e days.”

South Africa looked forward to increasing lemon exports to China, in addition to other citrus exports which reached almost 130 000 metric tons last year.

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