Egypt's Ain Sokhna Port (Photo:Reuters)
CAIRO – 20 March 2018: Russia’s agricultural quarantine authorities flagged two potato shipments from Egypt that were found to be contaminated with potato brown rot.
The Ministry of Trade and Industry denied the allegation that Russia has imposed bans on potato imports from Egypt due to a lack of quality. He stressed that Russia has not placed a blanket ban on Egypt’s potato exports to Russia.
The ministry added that the ban has been limited to two regions, including Beheira, which is where the shipments originated from.
Egypt has set phytosanitary regulations, the ministry stated, assuring that Egyptian agricultural exports are free of pests. Such regulations have led to a dramatic upturn in Egypt’s potato exports to Russian markets in 2017, reaching $118.4 million, compared to $ 45.4 million in 2016.
In the same context, the Agriculture Ministry issued a statement confirming that it would investigate the farms where the shipments originated from.
In June 2011, the Russian Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance imposed bans on potato shipments, as they were infected with brown rot. The ban was lifted in 2012 on the condition that Russia would check crops before shipment.
Jordan imposed a ban on Egyptian potatoes in 2016 due to brown rot, but the ban was lifted in October 2017, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.
In addition to this, Saudi Arabia imposed a temporary ban on imports of Egyptian strawberries due to suspected pesticide residues. The United Arab Emirates has also banned pepper imports from Egypt over concerns of pesticides.
As such, Egypt is exerting efforts to encourage farms and factories in Egypt to adhere to strict observation and controls over vegetable and fruit production.
In May 2017, the Ministry of Agriculture issued a decree under which any vegetables and fruits marked to be exported must be produced in selected farms that adhere to particular standards.
Egypt’s total exports to Russia increased by 35 percent in 2017, reaching $504.5 million, compared to $374.1 million in 2016, Trade Minister Tarek Kabil said Saturday.
He said that the variety of Egyptian exports has helped boost exports to the Russian market.
The minister stated that the fact that Egyptian exports to Russia surpassed $500 million is considered a milestone in commercial ties between Egypt and Russia. He added that the free trade zone agreement between Egypt and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) will help in doubling exports to these markets.