Dominican Republic to export fruit and veg to US without restrictions

The Minister of Agriculture, Angel Estevez, stated that the US Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) had removed the restrictions on exports of fruit and vegetables from the province of Santo Domingo and from the National District.

Angel Estevez said that, starting August 10, these two districts could export fruits and vegetables that can host the Mediterranean fruit fly (Ceratitis capitata) to the United States.

He also said the information had been published last Tuesday by the deputy administrator of phytosanitary issues of the United States Department of Agriculture, Osama El-Lissy, under the federal order DA-2016-51.

According to him the document states that the APHIS had evaluated the production practices, and the reports of the trap readings and the activities of the eradication program implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture and that it had determined that the province of Santo Domingo and the National District could be added to the list of provinces from which products that can host the Mediterranean fly can be exported to the United States.

He added that "there have never been any catches in the province of Santo Domingo and there's only been one catch in the National District in the first week of May 2015." The Minister of Agriculture said Santo Domingo and the National District currently had about 3,000 planted tasks of exportable fruits and vegetables, especially of papaya and chilli peppers.

Estévez highlighted the progress of the eradication program of the Mediterranean fruit fly and said: "In the past 10 weeks we had 3 weeks where there were no catches and in the other ones the average was just 2 catches in the outbreak area in Punta Cana.'

He said "it is possible we achieve the final eradication this year, so we expect the other eastern provinces, which still have restrictions on exports of fruits and vegetables, are released."

He noted that earlier this year APHIS had allowed the entry of all varieties of chillies, avocado, tomato, papaya and, citrus from 23 provinces of the Dominican Republic, which included San Jose de Ocoa, La Vega, Espaillat, San Cristobal, Elias Pina, and Santiago, to the United States.

The Mediterranean fruit fly is one of the most feared pests attacking agriculture and affects more than 260 fruit, vegetable, and nut agricultural products. It also affects peppers, tomatoes, avocado, papaya, sapodilla, citrus, mango, coffee, guava, strawberry, cherry, banana, passion fruit, banana, eggplant, pumpkin, melon, and cucumbers, among others.

The Mediterranean fruit fly has been detected in the Punta Cana-Higuey airport since last year. Producers, packers, and exporters of fresh fruits and vegetables lost tens of millions of dollars because of the US ban on these products. There was massive bankruptcy.


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