The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture has imposed a ban on the import of onions from Egypt. According to the Director-General of the Livestock Risk Assessment Department at the ministry, Sanad Al-Harbi, the ban follows an analysis of onion shipments from Egypt which contained unacceptable levels of pesticide residues.
Saudi Arabia earlier banned strawberry, guava, pepper and tomato imports from Egypt for the same reason. This is not the first such ban imposed on Egyptian produce. Russia, Japan, America, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Jordan have all decided to ban agricultural imports from Egypt on the basis that they are “unfit” for human consumption.
According to the Director-General of the General Quarantine Department, Osama Saleh, notice of the ban on onions has been circulated and precautionary measures have been taken to prevent disease.
Egypt normally exports around 3.5 million tonnes of agricultural produce annually. Such exports are valued at around $4.8bn, according to the latest statistics issued by the Agriculture Export Council in Cairo.