Belarus not to ban Polish apples?

Once again, seedworm is reportedly to blame.  Seedworm was allegedly found in Moldovan apricots shortly after Moldova signed an association agreement with the European Union. Now Polish apples are hit in retaliation for EU's economic sanctions against Russia over the conflict in Ukraine.

Unlike Russians, Belarus did not spot seedworm in Moldovan apricots. However, there were cases of seedworm in Polish apples in the past.

"It was found in some batches. Every batch is inspected. Every batch means a fully loaded 20 ton-truck," says Leanid Pliashko, director of the state agency for plants protection.

However, they decided not to ban Polish apples as suspecious fruit is detected at the border every month. It is then sent back to the supplier, destroyed or treated.

"Russians can impose a ban, but nothing changes for us. The Russians may have banned, but we have received no official communication," Euroradio is told at the agency. It means that Polish apples are cleared to enter Belarus without a problem.

The advert in a Polish bus: Eat an apple to spite Putin

Poland accounts for 75.1% of apples, pears and quinces imported to Belarus. In 2013, we imported a total of 213.7 thousand tons of apples and pears, with only 6.4 thousand tons coming from CIS countries. It means that approximately 150 thousand tons of imported apples and pears were Polish.

In the first five months of 2014, our country imported 190 thousand tons of apples, pears and quinces. Belarus' harvest of apples and pears in 2013 was 343 thousand tons. 

"One thing is to pick. Another thing is to sell," Euroradio is told at the Ministry of Agriculture.

Last year, Belkoopsoyuz sold 96 thousand tons of apples, out of which 93 thousand were supplied by Belarusian population. There may be enough Belarus-grown apples, but they are hardly to survive till the next summer. Therefore, our country might not do without 150 thousand tons of Polish apples.

Belarus has not plans yet to follow Russia in banning the imports of Polish apples, according to Ihar Nazaruk, director of foreign trade department at Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In an interview with Sovietskaya Belorussia newspaper, he said:

"Belarus does not always have to follow measures introduced by the veterenary or phytosanitary agencies of the allies. It is a matter of national competence related to the healthcare and security of citizens."

Russia threatens to ban all fruit and vegetables from Europe.