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COVID-19: UPDATE FROM THE FPEF

Following the announcement on 23 March by President Ramaphosa on additional measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, we have compiled this document to summarise the measures which have an impact on our industry.

  • The most important aspect of the announcement is that the agricultural sector is being viewed as an essential service which means that the production, harvesting, packing and transport of agricultural products can continue.

Related to that are the following:

  • The Ports, Road and Rail networks will remain open in order to facilitate the import and export of essential products.
  • Public and private organisations, their staff and service providers essential to the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity will need to continue to operate.
  • In the Regulations published on the 18th of March to curb the spread of the corona virus, a prohibition was placed on a “gathering” of more than 100 persons. We have received confirmation via Agbiz from SAPS’ chief legal advisor that a workplace should NOT be interpreted as a gathering. The 100-person limit is therefore not applicable to a workplace such as a factory, abattoir or packhouse. In the event that members experience challenges in this regard, please inform us as soon as possible so that we may take it up via Agbiz, through the correct channels.
  • Kindly take note that this only applies to the restrictions imposed last week Wednesday, the 18th of March. The exact scope of the restrictions announced by the President yesterday evening and the exemptions thereto have not been published as of yet, but Agbiz will keep members informed as soon as clarity is provided.
  • The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) and the PPECB (Perishable Products Export Control Board) will continue operations in order to ensure the signing-off on the required inspections and the issuing of export certificates and other necessary export documents. Some of these processes might be in different ways than we are used to, e.g. more digital.
  • Special market inspections (China, Japan, Taiwan):
  • Japan, agreed to not send an inspector and exporters would be able to export without a pre-clearance inspection from a MAFF (Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries) inspector. However, fruit will be sampled and thoroughly inspected on arrival.
  • The matter of inspectors from China and Taiwan will be discussed on 25 March between Industry and DALRRD.
  • Inspections for exports to the USA during this period:
    • The work procedure will be announced after the Market Access Workgroup Meeting with DALRRD. For now, we foresee limited movement of the USA inspector servicing only selected inspection points.
  • The international markets are accepting fruit and trade is allowed in the different markets.

FPEF staff will work from home but will continue to be available via e-mail and mobile phones. Where meetings are necessary, it will be virtual meetings via teleconferencing, SKYPE or ZOOM.

 

The Communications Team will continue to deal with media enquiries. All such enquiries should be referred to the leader of the team, Adéle Ackermann : adele.ackermann@capespan.co.za

The additional measures announced are extreme, but necessary to ensure the health and safety of South Africans.

Please look after yourself and adhere to the measures.

Kind regards

Anton Kruger

CEO: Fresh Produce Exporters’ Forum