The European Union’s new import rules requiring exporters to apply cold treatment to oranges heading to Europe have cost South African citrus exporters R200 million, a lobby representing growers said.
The phytosanitary measures are meant to curb the spread of the false codling moth, a pest native to sub-Saharan Africa that feeds on fruits.
The sudden imposition of the new standard that came into effect last month meant that between 1,200 and 1,600 containers of the fruit worth about R650 million were stuck at European ports, Deon Joubert, EU envoy for the South African Citrus Growers Association, said by phone from Cape Town.
“The steps by the EU have cost South African citrus exporters about R200 million extra in terms of storage and transport costs and opportunity costs,” he said. “We expect that to rise by another R180 million.”
Exporters have since managed to move 900 of those containers into the market and secured about 600 million rands’ worth of product, he said.
South Africa last month filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization over the regulations.