Worries have eased for orange farmers

After the intervention of the government, the cargo of South African oranges, estimated at 500 containers, was allowed to enter the countries of the European Union (EU).

These cargoes were stranded in the waters off the shores of different EU countries after the countries under the EU established new conditions for the entry of oranges into European countries.

The seizure of these cargoes has caused serious concern to farmers who produce oranges in South Africa.

A report released by the Citrus Growers Association of South Africa states that an estimated $2 billion income is generated from the sale of oranges in European countries.

Europe has new laws that prevent the entry of products from other countries into Europe before they have been legally inspected in a certain way.

Hannes De Waal is an orange farmer in the Sundays River Valley region. He says that they can breathe a sigh of relief after this decision was taken.

“The restriction of our product to enter the European continent would make it difficult to recover the money we spent to make these loads,” explained De Waal.

The entry of these cargoes into the European continent comes after South African farmers together with the government filed a lawsuit at the World Trade Organization which intervened to solve the problem.

The continent of Europe has restricted these shipments because it is trying to prevent the spread of an insect found in oranges from some African countries.

“These conditions that held the cargoes say that farmers must ensure that our oranges are kept at the lowest possible temperature before it is sent to Europe. They believe this will kill the suspected insect before the cargo is sent to Europe,” explained De Waal.

They say these cargoes should complete a period of 25 days before being sent to European countries.

South Africa is the second largest producer of oranges in the world after Spain.

Justin Chadwick is the CEO of the Citrus Growers Association of South Africa. “We applaud this decision because there would have been a lot of damage if we had not found a solution. The loss of money would mean the loss of jobs for a lot of people,” said Chadwick.

After this solution, it is expected that oranges will start entering European countries without any problems. This problem of oranges getting stuck occurs right after the harvest of many orange products including lemons, oranges and naartjies.

There are estimated to be 100 000 workers who work in areas that produce orange products in South Africa, who would lose their jobs if these orange products cannot enter Europe. Areas that produce orange tree products in this country employ 6000 people nationally.