Noticias

17 June 2020

Asaja Málaga calls for more controls on citrus black spot ahead of the Southern Hemisphere import season

All citrus growing areas in the EU are potentially suitable for the establishment of the pest, and the start of the Southern Hemisphere import season, with a total forecast of more than 3 million tonnes, may bring the fungus to domestic farms All citrus growing areas in the EU are potentially suitable for the establishment of the pest, and the start of the Southern Hemisphere import season, with a total forecast of more than 3 million tonnes, may bring the fungus to domestic farms

Asaja Málaga is demanding greater vigilance and control of citrus black spot from the European Commission ahead of the start of the Southern Hemisphere import season during the summer when its citrus exports are at their peak. In the ports of countries such as Holland, Belgium, Great Britain or Germany, through which now enter most of the citrus fruits from South Africa, Argentina, Uruguay … countries where the fungus is active. It is worth noting that on May 29th the World Citrus Organisation published its forecast report for the Southern Hemisphere citrus season and that although citrus production in these countries is showing a small decrease of 3% compared to the 2019 harvest, exports are expected to increase by 12%. And the European Union is a major destination, which is why we need to step up plant health control.

From ASAJA Malaga values, as of utmost importance, that the sooner we can These general guidelines should be applied by Member States that are now in preparation by EFSA, much better to be able to control in the most efficient possible the implantation of the fungus in our producing areas.

The illness

Like is known, the fungus “Phyllosticta citricarpa” causes the disease known as Citrus black spot which mainly affects the fruit commercial citrus fruits, although the leaves and stems can also be infected. This fungus, present in many citrus-producing countries but not in Spain or in the rest of the EU, causes a loss of commercial quality in fruit and poses a serious threat to Community production.

The European Commission requested a report from EFSA (M-2017-0137) to support the US in planning the annual risk-based and statistically sound surveys and technical controls of Phyllosticta citricarpa (black spot). This document was made public last May and, regardless of the technical issues, it restates what EFSA has already communicated in several reports which we believe the Commission did not properly address: That under Mediterranean climatic conditions this fungus could develop. The disease, as we know, has been recently reported in Tunisia, under Mediterranean-type climatic conditions (EPPO, 2019). Simulations carried out for previous EFSA opinions concluded that the different climates of citrus-growing areas in the EU are potentially suitable for the establishment of P. citricarpa. In particular EFSA in this new technical report states that “due to the variety of environments in which the fungus is currently distributed, all citrus growing areas in the EU are potentially suitable for the establishment of the pest” and “therefore, all citrus growing areas in the EU are considered in this survey sheet, namely the production areas in Cyprus, Spain, France, Greece, Croatia, Italy, Malta and Portugal”.

Source: Valencia Fruits

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