An expert from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is scheduled to arrive in Vietnam on September 2. The brief is to continue monitoring the treatment of fruit destined for the country, which recently underwent a hiatus due to COVID-19.
The expert will first be quarantined, in line with regulations, according to the Plant Protection Department at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the US recalled many of its staff in March, including those at the APHIS, in Vietnam. APHIS employees, however, are in charge of monitoring the handling of fruit at the HCM City-based Son Son irradiation centre - the only Vietnamese irradiation facility recognised by APHIS.
While waiting for US plant quarantine experts, the Plant Protection Department worked with the US Embassy in Vietnam, asking it to send a staff member to monitor fruit irradiation to maintain exports. The resumption of plant quarantine monitoring did not last for long, though, as this person was not specialised in the field. The irradiation and export of fruit to the US was suspended from August 7 to 21 as a result, the Plant Protection Department said.