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Lack of European legislation leads to out of control import of kaki and pomegranate plant material

Zoom in font  Zoom out font Published: 2018-07-03  Views: 11
Core Tip: The shortcomings and weaknesses of the phytosanitary control system of the European Union (EU) have become evident again during the celebration of the 6th Technical Day of the Association of Plant Variety Operators (ASOVAV).
 The shortcomings and weaknesses of the phytosanitary control system of the European Union (EU) have become evident again during the celebration of the 6th Technical Day of the Association of Plant Variety Operators (ASOVAV). The head of the section for Vegetal Certification of the Valencian Council of Agriculture, Carles Escrivà, revealed that the current legislation on this matter does not include specific monitoring requirements for the import of plant material for two crops as relevant as kaki and pomegranate; a circumstance that multiplies the risk of entry of new pests and diseases.

In order to enter European territory, both products must include a so-called phytosanitary passport, but the current regulations don't require any other type of documentary evidence that certifies that the imported material is free of certain diseases. This is not the case for the plant material of many other productions reaching Valencian ports. The matter is very serious, considering that kakis and pomegranates are two emerging crops in the Region of Valencia and, therefore, the hypothetical entry of any new pest may cause severe damages.

But this is not the only case that shows the deficiencies of the EU in a matter as sensitive as plant health. When importing seeds of horticultural products, Brussels only enforces rigorous control criteria for three products: tomatoes, onions and green beans, but not for the rest. The representative of the Council of Agriculture recalled that the new directive that has to regulate these issues is just now under discussion, and that it would be advisable for Spain to maintain a firm position in the negotiations and demand stricter and more effective regulations, since much is at stake.

Regarding the possible impact of new diseases, the vice president of ASOVAV, Vicente Pascual, mentioned the devastating effect of the greening disease, which is not present in Europe. He explained that "in ten years, Brazil has lost 30% of its citrus industry due to this bacterium's spread. Meanwhile, Florida has gone from producing 150 million boxes of citrus fruits (40 kilos each) to just 50 million for the same reason."


 

 
 
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