Rosselkhoznadzor announced yesterday the discovery of a dangerous quarantine pest in a consignment of dried apricots from Uzbekistan. This could potentially lead to a ban on the import of Uzbek dried fruits to Russia and other countries of the Eurasian Economic Union. We should also expect an increase in quarantine control of Uzbek dried fruits in other countries of the world.
Rosselkhoznadzor’s website states: “During the quarantine phytosanitary control of a 1-ton commodity consignment of dried apricots from Uzbekistan, a quarantine object for Russia and the member countries of the Eurasian Economic Union was identified, specifically the khapra beetle (Trogoderma granarium Ev.). The pest was found in the larval stage in the amount of 2 pieces per 1 kg of production, which indicates a serious infection of the batch.
According to the NPPO of Uzbekistan, the khapra beetle is considered an object officially eliminated in the country.
Rosselkhoznadzor already introduced temporary restrictions on the import of all regulated products from the Republic of Uzbekistan in 2008 which was also related to the detection of the khapra beetle in dried fruits. This restriction was later canceled following the results of an audit of the Uzbek phytosanitary control system. In the near future, the service will initiate negotiations with the Uzbek side to discuss the current situation. In order to preserve phytosanitary well-being, prevent the import and distribution of the specified object, Rosselkhoznadzor reserves the right to impose a ban on the import of dried fruits and nuts from Uzbekistan to Russia.”
EastFruit analysts would like to point out the growing importance of dried fruit exports for the fruit and vegetable industry in Uzbekistan. In 2019, the export of dried fruits from Uzbekistan reached $145 million, an increase over 1.5 times in just one year.
According to EastFruit experts, Russia is the main sales market for Uzbek dried fruits, despite the fact that the main supplies are made to Kyrgyzstan, according to official statistics. In this case, Kyrgyzstan serves as a transit country for Uzbek products only.
Should a loss of access to the Russian market occur, Uzbekistan may lose about $50 million in revenue and possibly more if other Eurasian Economic Union states simultaneously impose bans. In total, the proceeds from dried fruits account for 23% of all export earnings of the fruit sector, which also includes nuts, berries, and melons. It is the most important export category for Uzbekistan’s produce business.
“Considering the quality characteristics of Uzbek fruits, the state of the infrastructure for processing and cooling products, as well as the geographical remoteness of Uzbekistan from the sales markets, dried fruits play an important role in the economy of the country’s horticulture and viticulture. This is also facilitated by the dry and hot climate during the ripening of stone fruits and grapes, which allows drying fruits without additional energy consumption,” says Andriy Yarmak, an economist at the Investment Centre of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). “Therefore, the loss of the main market for dried fruits for Uzbekistan can cause serious damage to the entire horticultural industry,” the expert explains.
Raisins are still the main export item among dried fruits in Uzbekistan. Kuraga (dried apricot) exports are also growing very rapidly as well as dried apples recently. On the contrary, the export of mixtures of dried fruits and prunes tends to decrease.
The khapra beetle (Trogoderma granarium Ev.), according to Rosselkhoznadzor, can cause more than 5 billion rubles of damage per year to the agricultural sector of the country if it spreads throughout Russia. This beetle is capable of destroying up to 70% of stored products and therefore it is a quarantine object for many countries, including the states of Eastern and Southern Africa, Bahrain, China, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Germany, Canada, United States, Mexico, Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and New Zealand.
Khapra beetles damage wheat, corn, rice, barley, oats, rice, oilseeds, legumes, vegetables, forests, ornamentals, and other crops, as well as their processed products. Infected grain products turn into a powdery mass of excrement, molted skins, and feed residues, unsuitable for use as food and for livestock feed due to its toxicity.
Under favorable conditions such as the presence of food and optimum temperatures, the pest can cause a mass outbreak in a short period of time. The humidity of the air and food has little effect on the rate of development and is not a limiting factor since the larvae develop normally on food with a moisture content of 6%, which gives this species an advantage in the competition with other pests of stocks.
Pest larvae in the absence of food, overcrowding, or an increase/decrease beyond optimal temperatures are able to enter diapause. They will stop feeding and migrate from the food substrate in search of shelters, clogging up in cracks, cracks in rooms, and sack tare. Without food, the larvae remain viable for up to 3 years. Passive larvae are extremely resistant to adverse conditions and to contact pesticides and fumigants. In the presence of food and the optimum temperature, the beetle develops without diapause throughout the year and can give several generations per year resulting in several thousand specimens per 1 kg of production.
Khapra beetles do not fly; they are active only within the premises or enterprise. The pest can infect grain storage facilities, vehicles, raw materials and flour warehouses, mills, feed mills, confectionery factories, malt storage facilities, and brewery crushing plants.
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