Strawberry ban, not really a ban, says Trade Minister
Trade Ministry downplays supposed Saudi strawberry ban as “procedural” matter: Saudi Arabia’s Agriculture Ministry has only imposed new regulatory procedures for imports of Egyptian strawberries and guavas and has not banned the imports altogether, the Trade and Industry Ministry said, according to Al Ahram. Under the new procedures, Egyptian exporters must present documentation proving their fruit shipments have been tested for pesticide levels, and only non-compliant shipments will be barred from entering the kingdom. The new procedures will come into effect on 14 September for guava imports and 14 November for strawberry imports. The Trade Ministry’s statement comes at odds with earlier reports that KSA had slapped a temporary ban on imports of Egyptian strawberries over concerns of high pesticide levels, effective from 11 July.
In any case, we’re not taking any chances with future fruit exports: The agriculture and trade ministries are planning to impose Global Good Agricultural Practices, an internationally recognized standard for farm production, on upcoming strawberry and pepper harvests, Al Mal reports. The grape harvest that is currently in export season was held to the same standard. The Agriculture Ministry had also said it is investigating labs responsible for testing exports and is blacklisting the unnamed company whose strawberries triggered the latest issue with Saudi.