…advises of rejection if requirements are not satisfiedAfter Guyana Times reported over the weekend that the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) has imposed a ban on the importation all citrus fruits and Government subsequently distancing itself from such ban, the institution on Monday advised that if not properly documented, it will be rejecting citrus and other commodities instead of a complete ban.“The National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) is advising importers of commodities such as citrus, peppers and cabbages to obtain the requisite permission from the National Plant Protection Organisation. It is crucial that these commodities receive the necessary phytosanitary requirements and pest risk analysis. If these requirements are not satisfied, these commodities will be rejected instead of a ban on these commodities,” NAREI said in a statement.NAREI’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr Oudho Homenauth, told this publication in an interview on Friday that his organisation is completely restricting the importation of citrus fruits in Guyana. This move, he noted, was in keeping with the policies of the Government of the day. He further related that the ban on citrus has always been in place.However, on Saturday Agriculture Minister, Noel Holder said he was not aware of such a ban. Holder explained that Caricom produces citrus as well and with the CSME agreement in place, Guyana has certain obligations. He further related that big tariffs on citrus would be a possibility rather than a complete ban.“What you have is a big tariff on citrus coming but you won’t have a ban once they reach the certain phytosanitary requirements. Once they meet the standards they will be allowed [in the country]. It is Government’s position that there’s no ban on anything. We don’t ban food items once they meet sanitary and phytosanitary requirements and the correct tariffs are paid,” Holder explained.In order for agricultural products to be imported into Guyana, one has to have the requisite documentation which includes a pest risk assessment to determine that the produce is free of all pests and diseases. In addition, importers have to be licensed.