After a long period of negotiation a green light was recently given for the export of Dutch pears to China. A good result which was brought about by an intensive collaboration between NVWA, EZ, NFO, Frugi Venta, KCB, and of course exporters and growers. In week 47 the first containers of Conference pears were inspected, certified and shipped to the distant China, a coronation for all efforts.
It wasn't easy to meet the Chinese demands. First of all there are the phytosanitary demands; there have to be guarantees that the final product is free of 19 organisms named by China. Intensive monitoring in their cultivation and intervention if there is any contamination was demanded of the growers who signed up for export to China. The registration of these activities is an important part of the protocol and the NVWA has to report to China on this. To be sure that the right pears go to China, there are also strict demands about tracing. All plots have to be registered with their GLN number beforehand, but storage location, packaging stations and exports also have to be known to China. All this information has to be repeated on the storing trays, the final packaging and the final phytosanitary certificate.
What is special is that quality demands have also been included in this export protocol. The pears for China have to meet all legal phytosanitary, food safety and quality demand. Due to the fact that the pears travel for quite some time (4 to 6 weeks) the sector has attached extra demands for hardness and colour. There are various times for checking built into the process, from cultivation to shipping. An important moment is the plot check just before harvest, the KCB does this check by order of the NVWA. During such a visit they check whether the pears are hanging at the right height, whether there are pheromone traps and whether there are traces of blight, Phytophthora, Codling, etc. They also check whether the storage trays are correctly marked and where they will be stored. The final export check is the end of the protocol. During the inspection 2% of the goods are checked intensively, 40 fruits per party have to be cut, the hardness and colour has to be determined and the traceability is checked. All of these activities demand a lot of discipline from all those in the sector, but should result in China receiving reliable and high quality Dutch product.