No easing of UAE vegetable ban, following pesticide outrage

No easing of UAE vegetable ban, following pesticide outrage
The UAE said a ban on imported vegetables found with high levels of pesticides will remain in place despite the request of Jordanian farmers to annul the measures.
2 min read
12 May, 2017
Jordanian farmers having suffered from a drop in exports [AFP]
The UAE said a ban on the import of some vegetables from Jordan, Egypt, Oman, Lebanon and Yemen will stay despite regional media reports that it might ease restrictions. 

Abu Dhabi's ministry of climate change and environment ordered the ban after UAE labs found high trace levels of pesticide in some of the produce.

Following media reports from Jordan that the ministry would allow the import of some vegetables from the kingdom, the UAE reiterated its commitment to the ban.

It has demanded all affected countries conform to the Emirates' British-standards of testing before it reconsiders its decision.

Among the banned Jordanian produce are peppers, cabbages, cauliflowers, lettuces, squash, green beans and aubergines.

Also banned were all types of peppers from Egypt, apples from Lebanon, carrots, melons and watercress from Oman, and all fruits from Yemen. 

The UAE notified these countries on 24 April that a ban on imports would begin 15 May.

Since then Jordan's farmers' union has asked for the enforcement date to be extended to allow traders to adapt.

Jordan's farmers have been struggling with big drops in exports in recent years, mostly due to the turmoil over the border with traditional trading partners Syria and Iraq.

Exports dropped in 2016 fell by more than 12 percent while the border to Jordan's northern neighbour Syria remains closed.

"The situation of the agriculture sector is very bad and we don't expect it to improve this year as many farmers gave up cultivating their land due to losses," Zuhair Jweihan from the Jordan Exporters and Producers Association for Fruit and Vegetables told Jordan Times earlier this year.