EU threatens to halt Israeli produce exports over moth fears
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EU threatens to halt Israeli produce exports over moth fears

Following warning from Europe, Agriculture Ministry increases efforts to battle crop-damaging insect

Fale codling moth / Thaumatotibia leucotreta (Simon Hinkley & Ken Walker, Museum Victoria / Wikipedia)
Fale codling moth / Thaumatotibia leucotreta (Simon Hinkley & Ken Walker, Museum Victoria / Wikipedia)

The European Union has threatened to prohibit the export of some Israeli produce to Europe amid concerns over a moth known to damage crops, the Agriculture Ministry said Tuesday.

An Agriculture Ministry statement said the EU warned that the export of certain produce will be halted on January 1, 2018, if Israeli farmers don’t meet new EU health rules and protocols on dealing with the false codling moth.

The ministry also warned that the moth presents a threat to produce exports to the US, Canada, Japan and South Korea.

The moth, which is found primarily in Africa, has become more of a nuisance in recent years for Israeli farmers.

Illustrative: Oranges at a factory in southern Israel (Yaakov Naumi/Flash90)
Illustrative: Oranges at a factory in southern Israel (Yaakov Naumi/Flash90)

Among the over 70 types of crops the moth ruins by laying its eggs on them are citrus fruits, pomegranates, mango, grapes, corn and peppers, all of which are grown in Israel.

The Agriculture Ministry said in light of the threat to produce exports, it has increased its efforts in recent weeks to help farmers and agricultural organizations better combat the threat posed by the moth.

It said however that eliminating the moth would be difficult, as the insect reproduces a number of times each year and its eggs and larvae are difficult to detect.

The ministry also said that countries importing Israeli produce require the use of environmental friendly pesticides, which are less effective in killing off the moth.

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