CGC says this disproves South African assertions that the disease is unable to adapt to Mediterranean climate

Tunisian citrus

Spain’s Citrus Management Committee (CGC) has released a statement claiming that a recent study showing that Citrus Black Spot has spread across Tunisia’s citrus growing areas disproves claims by South Africa that the disease is unable to adapt to the Mediterranean climate.

The article, published in the Journal of Phytopathology, asserts that less than five years after its initial detection in the North African country, the disease has now fully spread to all the main citrus growing regions. ”This is the first time that the extent of CBS has been documented in a Mediterranean citrus area,” the study states.

CGC president Inmaculada Sanfeliu said the study “demonstrates the need to maintain and even strengthen control measures [on EU imports of South African citrus], based on fungicide treatments and inspections in origin”.

In its statement, the CGC noted: “This recent article, consistent with the findings from other affected regions worldwide, confirms that there is no known successful case of eradicating CBS once it has been introduced.

“In all affected countries, between four and six fungicide treatments per year are necessary to control the disease acceptably. This level of treatment would be nearly impossible in the EU, given current phytosanitary restrictions and additional requirements from the Farm to Fork Strategy.”

In a letter from the European Commission (EC) sent in response to the WTO’s call for consultations to the South African authorities, the EC noted that, according to EFSA studies, the economic impact of CBS potentially establishing itself in EU citrus-growing areas could total around €1.182bn.