In what is expected to be a major boost to Argentina’s fruit exports, areas growing cherries and other stone and pome fruits have been recognized as fruit fly free by China. This is quite a big step, as it enables exports to the world’s largest fresh food market. The result was achieved with the help of nuclear techniques – thanks to the support of the IAEA in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
“This represents a major opportunity for all fruit growers and exporters in Argentina who seek to position themselves in the Chinese market, with special interest in the cherries that could be dispatched directly by air, reducing costs and time,” said Carlos Paz, President of the National Plant Protection Organization of Argentina (SENASA). Similar recognition by the U.S. and Chile is already in place. This means that costly and time-consuming postharvest treatments for fresh fruit is no longer required for export.
In the 2019/2020 growing season, Argentina exported 5,600 tonnes of cherries, representing US$ 27.2 million in revenue. Exports to China accounted for a third of this, according to Anibal Caminiti, Executive Manager of the Integrated Producers of Argentinean Cherries Association (CAPCI).
The pest free status for these new areas is the result of the long-term effective work of SENASA through the National Fruit Fly Control and Eradication Programme (PROCEM) in cooperation with the fruit producers. The cooperation with the IAEA, under the technical cooperation programme, included technology transfer to support the application of the sterile insect technique (SIT).