S. Korea resumes pear exports to Australia

South Korea will resume exporting pears to Australia that were halted after the outbreak of fire blight in the country, the government said Sunday.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, the ban on locally grown pears that has been in place since June will be lifted Monday. Joint inspections carried out by South Korean and Australian officials confirmed that Seoul is keeping the highly contagious disease under control, and that it has not spread across the country, it added.

Fire blight has the capability to destroy a whole orchard in a single growing season.

"The experts who checked local pear growers in August agreed that the country is maintaining a transparent system of reporting outbreaks," the ministry said.

Local farms in Anseong and Cheonan, in the central part of the country, reported the outbreak in May that caused a blanket ban on pears, even from regions that were not affected.

It said while exports can resume immediately, the first shipments will likely take place in mid-October, from growers in Sangju, Naju and Hadong. The three regions are all located further south on the Korean Peninsula.

The ministry said that under the agreement, pears that can be exported must have a certification stating they are from regions not affected by fire blight.

In 2014, South Korean pear exports to Australia reached 100 tons, up from around 50 tons the previous year.

Source: yonhapnews.co.kr

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