The European Union has warned Israel that some agricultural exports to Europe will be cut at the beginning of 2018 if Jerusalem does not take measures to stop the spread of the false codling moth, an agricultural pest that is known to attack more than 70 fruit and vegetable species, including citrus fruit, pomegranate, avocado, mango, guava, corn, cotton and more.
Historically, the moth has been found mainly in Africa, but in recent years has caused increasing damage in Israel as well.
The Ministry of Agriculture said in a statement that several climate variants in Israel makes the pest difficult to kill, including the fact that the moth is active year-round, that it lives and breeds quickly on several different species, and that it is difficult to identify eggs or to know when the bugs have gotten into the fruit.
Further complicating matters for Israeli exporters, European Union regulations require the use of environmentally-friendly pesticides that are not very effective.
Agricultural authorities in Europe, North America and Asia have blocked entry to a large number of shipments from Israel over the past year due to concerns over the false codling moth, leading to the EU demand to ramp up measures to fight the pest.
According to the European demand, Israel will have to show a new protocol for fighting the pest and exporters who fail to comply with the new regulation will not be allowed to export their products to Europe.