Saudi Arabia bans Egyptian strawberries due to pesticide residues

Egypt exports around 1.2 million tonnes of agricultural products to Arab nations every year.

The Dollar Business Bureau

Saudi Arabia has banned the imports of strawberries from Egypt due to pesticide residues found in the consignments. The ban may hit Egypt as the country is still struggling to revive its economy.

“The temporary ban on Egyptian strawberries comes into effect on July 11,” Abdel Hamid al-Demerdash, Head of Agriculture Export Council of Egypt told a leading international news agency.

It is not specified in the memo received from Saudi Arabia, the residue levels detected or the name of the firms that have committed the violations, he said.

“Egypt will not have to face huge losses because of the ban as season for exporting strawberries concluded on April 10,” said Demerdash, while adding that strawberries make up only 5-10% of the total agriculture exports in the country.

Last year, Egypt exported $2.2 billion worth of fruits, vegetables and legumes. Major items of fruit exports were strawberries and oranges.

A number of bans on exports have affected the image of Egypt - an import-dependent economy seeking to push its exports and control imports in order to cut down its trade deficit.

Last month, Sudan had banned imports of Egyptian agriculture and animal products.

A month earlier, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) had banned the imports of Egyptian peppers.

“I expect the crisis of Egyptian agricultural exports to Arab countries to be resolved before the beginning of the new export season which begins mid-November,” Demerdash said.

Egypt exports around 1.2 million tonnes of agricultural products to Arab nations every year, he added.

Russia also put a temporary ban on the imports of fruits and vegetables from Egypt during the ending of last year just after a scare of Hepatitis A in North America, which was linked to Egyptian frozen strawberries. 

The Dollar Business Bureau - Jun 20, 2017 12:00 IST