Egypt launches automated vaccine cold storage at VACSERA    U.S. markets finish chaotic week in red note    EIB: Egypt has made recent greet progress in green projects    Gold reaches more than 2-year low on dollar strength, Fed concerns    Apple's iPhone 14 is the easiest to fix since 2016    Apple to hike App Store prices in Egypt and other countries in Asia, Europe    Dior new pre-fall men collection to take place for the first time in Egypt    Putin: Turkey to pay 25% of Russian gas in rubles    Kazakhstan's President awards Egypt's Azhar imam Astana International Prize    Three possible scenarios as Egypt's central bank governor resigns – MP    Adele is living a love story, wants to be a homemaker    In Photos: Egypt swears in 13 new ministers after major Cabinet reshuffle    Egypt's Sisi names 13 ministers in Cabinet reshuffle    Spain: prosecutor seeks 8 years sentence for Shakira over tax evasion    Egypt: Alamein Art Festival kicks off a collection of recycled installations    John Legend enjoys family trip in Egypt    Egypt's athlete Basma Emad wins bronze in weightlifting in Mediterranean Games    Noura Al-Mutair – first Gulf female boxer in World Championships    Maha karara joins AAIB as Head of Corporate Communications, Sustainability    Egypt works on charting cooperation strategies with international institutions for 5 years: Al-Mashat    Over 2.4 million newborns examined for hearing impairment: Health Ministry    Netflix releases trailer of Arab adaption of 'Perfect Strangers' film    Balqees to headline concert celebrating launch of streaming giant LIVENow in MENA    Sawsan Badr to be honoured at Aswan Women Film Festival    MP Abdel Hady Al-Qasby calls government to facilitate and support NGOs    Al-Sisi follows up on 'Great Transfiguration Project' in St. Catherine    Cairo, London stress need to strengthen cooperation to face climate change    Foreigners account for 22.6% of Egypt's T-bills issuances in 1H 2021: CBE    Egypt's ambassador to Italy passes away    Egypt confirms readiness to help African countries face terrorism and extremism    An estimated 235 million people needed humanitarian assistance and protection in 2021, an increase of 40% compared to 2020: IOM Egypt    Egypt, DRC discuss water cooperation during WYF    Egypt, DR Congo discuss boosting bilateral cooperation during WYF    Cameroonian police probe assault on three Algerian journalists covering AFCON    Pharaohs start AFCON 2021 campaign with fierce clash against Nigeria    Foreign Ministry opens capacity building course for French-speaking African diplomats    Russia says it's in sync with US, China, Pakistan on Taliban    It's a bit frustrating to draw at home: Real Madrid keeper after Villarreal game    Shoukry reviews with Guterres Egypt's efforts to achieve SDGs, promote human rights    Sudan says countries must cooperate on vaccines    Johnson & Johnson: Second shot boosts antibodies and protection against COVID-19    Egypt to tax bloggers, YouTubers    Egypt's FM asserts importance of stability in Libya, holding elections as scheduled    We mustn't lose touch: Muller after Bayern win in Bundesliga    Egypt records 36 new deaths from Covid-19, highest since mid June    Egypt sells $3 bln US-dollar dominated eurobonds    Gamal Hanafy's ceramic exhibition at Gezira Arts Centre is a must go    Italian Institute Director Davide Scalmani presents activities of the Cairo Institute for ITALIANA.IT platform    

Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.

Banning onion exports
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 17 - 01 - 2019

Following the examination of samples from Egypt, the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture has imposed a temporary ban on Egyptian imports of onions because of unacceptable levels of pesticide residues.
The ban was imposed to protect public health after it was shown that the onions contained pesticide residues at a rate exceeding the international limit, according to a statement issued by Sanad Al-Harbi, director of the Saudi Livestock Risk Assessment Department. The note was circulated among all Saudi quarantine departments.
Following the issuance of the ban, the movement of onion trucks from Safaga to Al-Dabaha in Saudi Arabia was halted on 18 January, but as the government had not received an official notice from Saudi Arabia about the decision, truck drivers, exporters and officials were confused.
Ahmed Al-Attar, head of the Central Department of Agricultural Quarantine at the Ministry of Agriculture, told Al-Masry Al-Youm that Egypt would demand an explanation from Saudi Arabia over the decision.
According to Al-Attar, the Egyptian ministry did not receive an official notice about contaminated onion shipments in spite of the fact that according to an agreement signed last year Saudi Arabia undertook to formally notify Egypt of any rejection of shipments.
Mohamed Abdel-Maguid, head of the Pesticides Committee at the Agriculture Ministry, said the decision was not clear since onions by their nature can harbour few pesticides.
Osama Al-Qodsi, owner of the Mansoura-based Al-Qodsi Company for Vegetable and Fruit Exports, said “it is impossible that Egyptian onions were contaminated with pesticide residues at this time of year [the end of the onion cultivation season].”
He said that his company had exported onions to Jordan, Greece and the US this season, and the shipments were accepted as they had met all the standard quality requirements. He added that shipments from other exporters had been rejected by Saudi Arabia during the last few weeks, causing major losses.
“It is unfair to ban all imports from Egypt if one shipment did not meet specifications. It would be better to impose a penalty, or halt the work of the company which owns the shipment, not to punish all exporters,” Al-Qodsi said.
Ashour Al-Assil, head of the Saury Company for Vegetable and Fruit Exports, agreed. “Weak penalties encourage some exporters to violate regulations. Revoking the licence of an exporting company is not a real punishment as it will start working again after getting a new one,” he said.
“The decision will not have a negative impact on our business because it is the end of the onion season, and the new harvest will come in March and April. I expect that the ban will be lifted by that time because the Saudi market will need Egyptian onions which enjoy a high reputation in the global market,” Al-Assil said.
However, he said the ban could sully the reputation of Egyptian exports in the international market, particularly as it is not the first time that Saudi Arabia has banned an Egyptian agricultural product.
Saudi Arabia earlier banned imports of Egyptian strawberries, peppers and frozen guavas for the same reason. In April 2018, the Saudi Food and Drug Authority lifted the ban on imports of these after proof that the limits of pesticide residues on them were in accordance with global standards and European requirements.
To avoid such bans in future, Al-Assil said the Ministry of Agriculture should control the quality as well quantities of pesticides used by farmers in order to increase vegetable and fruit exports. More attention should also be given to picking and packing procedures, he said, with a view to promoting quality control.
He called for coordination between the exporters of the same commodity so as not to send too many shipments at the same time to a certain destination leading to over-supply and thus a drop in the price of exports.
Local consumers might benefit from the ban, according to Al-Assil, as exporters will now have to sell their onions locally, which means more supplies and lower prices.
Onions are Egypt's third-largest exported crop following oranges and potatoes. They represent 20 per cent of Egypt's total agricultural exports and are exported mainly to the European Union, the US, Russia and the Arab countries.
Egyptian onions are in high demand since they are harvested in March and April, earlier than in other markets.
The total land cultivated with onions represents eight per cent of Egypt's total planted areas. Total onion production represents seven per cent of global production and 70 per cent of African production.
Egypt's agricultural exports stood at four million tons in 2017/2018, compared to 3.8 million tons the previous year. The total value of its agricultural exports amounted to $1.2 billion in 2017/2018.

Clic here to read the story from its source.