Sudan bans Egyptian fruit, vegetables and fish

Meanwhile, Cairo has reversed its zero tolerance policy on ergot on Wednesday

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Sudan has suspended imports of fruit, vegetables and fish from neighboring Egypt as of Sept. 20 on safety grounds, the Sudanese trade ministry said without elaborating.

Sudan’s move came less than a week after Russia said it would suspend fruit and vegetable imports from Egypt, a move that appeared to be a response to Cairo rejecting Russian wheat under its zero tolerance of a common grain fungus.

“Importing fruit, vegetable, and fish from Egypt is temporarily suspended until laboratory tests are complete to guarantee safety,” Sudanese state news agency SUNA quoted a trade ministry statement as saying late on Tuesday.

Russia suspends imports

Russia said on Friday it would suspend imports of Egyptian fruit and vegetables from Sept. 22 due to health concerns. The announcement came shortly after Cairo rejected a 60,000 tonne Russian wheat shipment.

Egypt, the world’s largest wheat importer, reversed its zero tolerance policy on ergot on Wednesday, backtracking on a rule that had all but blocked its access to wheat imports.

It is unclear why Sudan suspended fruit and vegetable imports. Egypt does not import wheat from Sudan.

“The suspension of imports of fruits and vegetables from Egypt is a temporary measure after several countries have done the same due to safety concerns,” said a trade ministry source.

“The resumption of imports is subject to the lab test results.”

The decision has confounded Sudanese fruit and vegetable traders who said it would harm them.

“Egypt is the biggest source of fruit and vegetables in Sudan and we have been importing from there for many years and there were never any problems,” said Ahmed Abu Sheiba from Sudan’s fruit and vegetable importers union executive committee.

“The market depends on Egyptian fruit due to geographical proximity and ease of transport. The decision came suddenly and will cause a lot of damage for importers. We call on the government to cancel this ban,” he told Reuters.