On April 29, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Supply of Brazil approved the Risk Mitigation System (SMR) for the control of the Lobesia botrana pest in grapes produced in Argentina. This measure will facilitate exporting Argentine fresh grapes to the Brazilian market as the product will no longer have to undergo bromination, which complicated commercial operations and affected the quality of the fruit, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries stated.
Until 2019, Mercosur had a rule that required bromination of grapes when they were marketed between the Mercosur State Parties; that year, they approved GMC Resolution 22/19 "Phytosanitary Requirements for Grape Vitis vinifera (vine)," which enables using other quarantine treatments (such as SMR) as alternatives to methyl bromide.
Brazil is the main destination for Argentinean fresh grapes, as it accounts for 50% of the total exported in the last two years. However, the requirement to use bromide generated high costs and damaged the fruit. Thus, the approval of the SMR represents an improvement in export conditions and new opportunities for Argentine producers, especially in the provinces of Mendoza and San Juan, which have been requesting this modification with great interest.
This was achieved thanks to the trip that the Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries, Luis Basterra, made to Brasilia on March 9 of this year. On that occasion, Basterra and the Minister of Agriculture of Brazil, Tereza Cristina Correa da Costa Dias, with the technical support of the respective health services, resolved 49 of the 54 issues identified at the beginning of 2020.