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17 Feb, 2024 05:20

Moscow lifts Ecuador banana ban   

The restrictions were imposed after a dangerous pest that carries cholera was found in shipments of the fruit  
Moscow lifts Ecuador banana ban   

Russia has lifted its partial ban on imports of bananas from Ecuador, the Russian food safety watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor announced on Friday.   

“We authorize these five Ecuadorian companies to supply [bananas] under guarantees of Ecuadorian services, and we will discuss the technical part further,” the head of the regulator told the broadcaster Russia 24.   

Moscow partially banned bananas from Ecuador, the world’s largest exporter of the fruit, earlier this month after discovering the polyphagous humpback fly, a carrier of cholera and the bee plague, in shipments.  

The humpback fly is considered a dangerous quarantine item for Russia and Eurasian Economic Union, as it can contaminate a wide range of products. Rosselkhoznadzor asked Ecuadorian suppliers to probe producers, and warned that more restrictive measures could follow if the authorities fail to take proper measures to prevent the supply of unsafe bananas to Russia.   

The ban targeted five Ecuadorian exporters and reportedly affected 25,000 jobs and over 3,000 small producers in the South American country.   

Russia is one of Ecuador’s largest buyers of the product.  

Rosselkhoznadzor first reported the discovery of the dangerous insect in Ecuadorian bananas in 2018. The country’s trade minister, Sonsoles Garcia, offered assurances that Ecuador has since taken all necessary measures to eradicate the problem. She also noted that the life cycle of a humpback fly is 24 days, whereas it takes 40 days for bananas to reach Russia. Garcia added that cholera has not been detected in Ecuador since 2014.  

The most recent ban came shortly after Ecuador’s president, Daniel Noboa, announced plans to give the US its outdated Russian and Ukrainian-made military equipment that he claimed was “scrap” in exchange for new US-made hardware. The Russian Foreign Ministry warned that such a move would violate existing agreements, which do not allow Ecuador to transfer Russian-made equipment to a third party without permission from Moscow.

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