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China Customs Gives Green Light to Zimbabwean Citrus Imports

On July 1, the General Administration of Customs of China announced that fresh citrus from Zimbabwe meeting requirements laid out in bilateral phytosanitary protocols may now be imported into China.

The types of Zimbabwean citrus products now permitted for import include sweet oranges (Citrus sinensis), mandarins (Citrus reticulata), grapefruits (Citrus paradisi), lemons (Citrus limon), limes (Citrus aurantifolia) and bitter oranges (Citrus aurantium).

According to the announcement, citrus orchards and packhouses exporting to China must be registered with Zimbabwe's Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Development and approved by the GACC. The protocols list 15 pests of concern, including various fruit flies, mites, scale insects and fungal pathogens.

All Zimbabwean citrus exported to China must undergo cold treatment. Lemons must be kept at a pulp temperature of 3 degrees Celsius or below for 18 or more consecutive days. Other citrus fruits need to be maintained at a pulp temperature of -0.6 degrees Celsius or below for at least 24 days. The protocols also include a pre-cooling requirement and contingency requirements if the cold treatment period is broken.

Zimbabwe provided the GACC with information on pest risk assessment for fresh citrus as early as 2015, but it was not until January of this year that the two governments finally signed the protocols for the export of Zimbabwean citrus to China.

China is a major citrus importer and during the summertime when China's domestic citrus production is in the off-season, the Southern Hemisphere countries of Australia and South Africa supply about half of its citrus imports. Zimbabwe has a highly suitable climate for citrus and its growing season also coincides with China's off-season - leaving producers, exporters and officials in Zimbabwe optimistic about the potential for Zimbabwean citrus in the Chinese market.

Citrus is the first fresh fruit product from Zimbabwe to be formally approved for import into China.

Source;  https://www.producereport.com/article/china-customs-gives-green-light-zimbabwean-citrus-imports

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