File Photo: Hot Pepper (AFP)
Saudi Arabia placed on Tuesday a temporary ban on the import of all types of Egyptian peppers after “pepper shipments continued to be contaminated with pesticide residue,” said a statement by the Saudi Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture.
The executive director of the Egyptian Agricultural Export Council (AEC) Hany Hussein told Ahram Online that he obtained a Saudi memo that says the ban would be put into effect in February.
“A meeting between the Egyptian and Saudi officials has to be scheduled to determine the reasons behind the decision and determine how to move forward,” Hussein said.
Hussein added that the Gulf country imports around 15,000 tonnes of Egyptian peppers annually.
AEC member Sherif El-Beltagy told Ahram Online that the decision affects the reputation of all Egyptian exports.
He said that there is “more understanding” with other countries that import Egyptian products, with Egypt immediately notified.
He said that instead of an immediate ban of the exports, an agreed could be reached where certain testing of exports before shipping could be agreed upon.
According to Egyptian International Trade Point, Egyptian agriculture exports to Saudi Arabia, excluding cotton, registered $240 million from January to June of this year.