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Honduras: Authorities put obstacles in the path of veg exports

A group of vegetable exporters has requested an immediate intervention because the national authorities have imposed exaggerated control provisions.

According to the exporters, this process is carried out under the pretext of complying with an agreement with the European Union, which has been in force since June of this year and will last until May 31, 2020.

Honduran agencies have used these conditions to overcharge for certain procedures that open doors to place local products in the foreign market.

The emergency measures are aimed at preventing the introduction and spread of a harmful organism into the member countries of the European Union.

The fall armyworm, as it is commonly known, causes a devastating plague that attacks economically important agricultural crops.

The European Union decided to apply new requirements for the import of certain plant families that could host the pest.

The European Food Safety Authority issued a scientific opinion regarding the classification of the fall armyworm as a pest, which was adopted In June 2017.

The United States presented data in which plants that originated in America and Africa could host the pest and that must, therefore, be subject to actions before being taken and marketed in the European Union.

These requirements include the mandatory presentation of a phytosanitary certificate, as well as annual inspections and controls to detect the presence of the organism.

The measures also require the Member States to guarantee that any person who is aware of the presence of the worm can immediately report it.

In addition, the obligated States must ensure that the producers who have infested plants are made aware of the measures they must adopt, as well as the risks and consequences they pose.

The European Union has demanded that the competent official body or an agency under its supervision conduct annual evaluations.

These will include the use of appropriate traps or, alternatively, the collection of samples based on scientific and technical principles, during the seasons in which the pest may be detected.

National exporters have requested that local phytosanitary authorities  review, within their specific scopes, the mandate of the European Union to control the plague that affects vegetable plantations, which are very important for Honduras' agricultural sector.

The application of the measures has given rise to misinterpretations and even to suspicions that, behind such rigorous methods, there are people who are illegally or illegitimately taking economic advantage of producers.


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