Saudi Arabia bans imports of Egyptian guavas

Saudi Arabia is banning imports of Egyptian guavas due to pesticide residues, the Saudi agriculture ministry said Tuesday.

The temporary ban came after an examination on a sample of the Egyptian imported Guava was conducted that showed to have been contaminated with high rates of pesticide residues, said the ministry’s Undersecretary for livestock affairs, Hamad Al-Batshan, said in a press statement.

In June, the Saudi authorities decided to ban the imports of Egyptian strawberries due to contamination of pesticide residues.

Since a currency float in November, which roughly cut the pound’s value in half, Egyptian exports have been welcomed in new markets due to their increased competitiveness.

Exports of Egyptian vegetables, fruits and legumes amounted to $2.2 billion last year. The main fruit exports include oranges and strawberries.

A series of bans of Egyptian exports however has hurt the image of an import-dependent country seeking to step up exports and curb imports in an effort to narrow its trade deficit. But, Bahrain, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates had agreed in October to lift a ban on imports of Egyptian agricultural products.

Exports could also help bring in desperately needed foreign currency that has been low in supply as a result of the 2011 Arab Spring uprising that drove away tourists and investors.