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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

PHL keen on exporting more mangoes, pineapples to US

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The Philippines wants to export more pineapples and mangoes to the United States after the two countries reached an agreement on measures that will address Washington’s biosecurity concerns.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) also said Washington has accepted the evidence submitted by Manila which proves that the Smooth Cayenne pineapple—the Philippines’s main export variety—is not a host to the oriental fruit fly.

The DA said American officials are currently drafting an operational work plan (OWP) to irradiate Philippine fresh mangoes upon arrival in the US, which removes the pre-clearance inspection requirement.

“Expanding the export market of Philippine pineapples and mangoes in the US and other countries will not only enhance our national economy, but more importantly, provide increased incomes to thousands of farmers and their families in pineapple- and mango-producing provinces nationwide,” Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar said in a statement on Wednesday.

The DA said officials from the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) and USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) virtually met last August 12 to talk about the prospective market expansion of Philippine pineapples and mangoes to the US.

The DA said the USDA-APHIS has accepted the evidence submitted by the Philippine government that the “Smooth Cayenne” pineapple variety is not a host to the oriental fruit fly.

“The fruit pest, known scientifically as Bactrocera dorsalis (Hendel), is very destructive and often finds its way into the US, sometimes triggering wide-scale eradication programs,” it added.

The DA said the USDA-APHIS will provide BPI the risk mitigation measures for oriental fruit fly. Once the DA-BPI agrees with the proposed mitigation measures, the USDA-APHIS will publish the initial notice in the Federal Register for a 60-day stakeholder comment period, according to the DA.

Should there be no opposition or problems faced during the comment period, then the USDA-APHIS will publish the final notice officially allowing the expanded market access for Philippine pineapples into the US, except Hawaii.

“The Philippines may start shipping pineapples to various US markets before year-end,” the DA said.

The DA added that the USDA-APHIS has also agreed to draft an OWP for the irradiation of Philippine fresh mangoes upon arrival in the US. The DA-BPI will provide the USDA-APHIS its official comments on the OWP, it said.

“Irradiation is a phytosanitary treatment that uses ionizing radiation to prevent the introduction or spread of regulated pests by achieving either mortality, preventing successful development like non-emergence of adults, sterility or inactivation,” it said.

“Irradiation of mangoes upon arrival in the US is an option offered by the USDA in response to the request of the Philippines to remove pre-clearance inspection.”

The DA said the Philippines currently exports fresh pineapples to the US through Guam, Commonwealth of Marianas Island, and North Atlantic regions. From 2013 to July 15, 2021, the country’s pineapple exports amounted to only 346,190 kilograms (kg).

The country previously exported fresh mangoes to the US, from 2005 to 2008, totaling 386,099 kg, all produced in Guimaras Island, according to the DA.

Read full article on BusinessMirror

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