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UAE acts following Saudi sewage report

A report from the Saudi municipal council that farmers are using sewage water for irrigation has led to a ban by the UAE

UAE acts following Saudi sewage report

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Saudi Arabia's municipal council has revealed that hundreds of vegetable producers in the Kingdom are using sewage water for irrigation, according to a report from Arab News.

It also stated that containers of fresh vegetables coming through King Abdulaziz International Airport were being cleared without inspection.

The report came from the council's five-member committee, which urged authorities to tackle such problems and to send off samples of fresh produce for laboratory testing.

Bassam Akhdar, chairman of the committee, commented: “We are now in the process of setting up a laboratory to inspect all products that enter the vegetable market in Jeddah."

One importer at Dubai's Al Aweer wholesale market said that the report had convinced UAE authorities to impose a ban on fruit produced in Saudi Arabia, including grapes, plums and peaches.

The news comes a week after Saudi Arabia lifted a 21-year-old ban on Jordanian agricultural products, with exports expected to resume in mid-June, according to Jordan's ministry of agriculture.

Shipments were halted following allegations that Jordanian producers were using waste water for irrigation purposes.

Mohammad Fawaeer, head of the crop and production unit at the ministry, told Bloomberg: "All agricultural produce to be exported to Saudi Arabia will be irrigated from underground water wells."

In 1990, the final year before the ban was imposed, Jordan exported 213,228 tonnes of fruit and vegetables to Saudi Arabia, according to statistics from the ministry.

There are suggestions that the lifting of the ban is related to the possibility of Jordan entering the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) following its recent application.

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