RWANDA – Rwanda’s ban on fruits and other agric produce imported from South Africa remains standing until South Africa confirms that it has been able to control the listeriosis spread that has claimed 180 lives, report New Times.

While Rwanda produces avocado, tree tomato, banana, passion fruits, mango, oranges, most of its apples are imported from South Africa.

According to Beatrice Uwumuremyi, Head of Regulation at the Ministry of Agriculture, most Rwandan stalls in supermarkets and common markets will remain rare of apples until the South African government confirms that the outbreak has been brought under control.

“The outbreak is still rampant and it will be lifted when South Africa notifies us that it is over.

There is a team put in place in Rwanda to continue monitoring the situation in South Africa.

The team is composed of representatives from institutions, including our Ministries of Agriculture, Health and Trade and Industry; Rwanda Standards Board; Rwanda Agriculture Board; and Rwanda Biomedical Centre,” said Beatrice.

Rwanda ban on imported meat, dairy products, vegetables and fruit from South Africa became effective in December 2017 following the outbreak of listeriosis disease.

The import ban on vegetables and fruits from South Africa remains until the country is declared free of listeriosis, according to a report from Daily Nation cited from an official statement.

In addition to apples, the country is experiencing a shortage in of pears and grapes, all of which are imported from South Africa

Rwanda imports up to 60 tonnes of fruits from South Africa annually; these include oranges, apples, kiwis, pears and grapes.

Rwanda exports most of its grown fruit and vegetables to DRC, K, Belgium, Netherlands and France but this is affected by lower volumes.

To cut down on vegetable and fruit imports, increase exports and meet growing demand, Rwanda and Israel formed a joint venture in a horticulture deal.

Rwanda is seeking to join Kenya in the eye-catching horticultural sector, the single largest traded industry in the world, with annual trade generating around US$57 billion.

Horticulture is Kenya’s largest export industry generating more than US$400 m surpassing even coffee and tea.