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China Customs Gives Green Light to Fresh Serbian Apples

November 04, 2023

After six years of negotiations, Serbia and China recently signed a protocol regarding phytosanitary requirements for Serbian apples. On Oct. 26, the General Administration of Customs of China issued an announcement via its website stating that fresh Serbian apples meeting the stipulated phytosanitary requirements would be permissible for import.

Serbia produces an estimated 550,000 metric tons of apples and pears per year, with annual exports exceeding 190,000 metric tons. A decade ago, Serbian apple farmers primarily catered to the specific varieties demanded by the Russian market. However, as Serbia started to explore additional markets in Europe, the Middle East and the Far East, growers began to cultivate varieties more aligned with the preferences of these diverse markets. After securing access to the Chinese market, Gojko Zagorac, president of Serbia Does Apples, a non-governmental association of apple producers and exporters, said that the inaugural shipment of apples to China will be delivered during the next season, starting in August 2024.

According to the GACC announcement for Serbian apples, China has identified a total of 16 quarantine pests of concern. These include the Mediterranean fruit fly (Ceratitis capitata), codling moth (Cydia pomonella), apple leaf-curling midge (Dasineura mali), rosy apple aphid (Dysaphis plantaginea), European pear scale (Epidiaspis leperii), wooly apple aphid (Eriosoma lanigerum), European apple sawfly (Hoplocampa testudinea), marbled orchard tortrix (Hedya nubiferana), common quaker (Orthosia cerasi), black peach aphid (Pterochloroides persicae), pear thrip (Taeniothrips inconsequens), apple scab fungus (Venturia inaequalis), fire blight (Erwinia amylovora), the bacterium Pseudomonas syringae pv. syringae, and the pathogenic fungi Monilinia fructicola and Phytophthora syringae. Orchards intending to export fresh apples to China must establish robust quality management and traceability systems under the supervision of Serbia’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy and adhere to good agricultural practices and integrated pest management techniques.

During the packaging process, apples destined for China must undergo procedures such as washing, brushing, disinfecting, sorting, grading and the removal of damaged fruits to ensure that shipments are free from insects, mites, rotten fruits, branches, leaves, roots and soil. After packaging, technical personnel must perform random checks on each batch of apples. If any of the pests of concern are detected, the entire batch may not be exported to China.

Cold treatment is mandatory for Serbian apples intended for export to China. Approved cold treatment regimens include a pulp temperature of 1.11 degrees Celsius or below for at least 14 consecutive days, 1.67 degrees Celsius or below for at least 16 consecutive days, and 2.22 degrees Celsius or below for at least 18 consecutive days.

Image: Pixabay

This article was based on a Chinese article. Read the original article.

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