Costa Rica's State Phytosanitary Service (SFE) has updated the requirements for the entry of avocados from Honduras after authorities detected the sunspot disease, a quarantine disease not present in the country caused by the viroid Avocado Sunblotch (ASBVd), in 5 different shipments.
From now on, Costa Rica will require all avocados from Honduras to undergo a molecular biology laboratory analysis to rule out the presence of the pest. The cost of the test will be assumed by the importer and the shipments will be retained awaiting the results of the test, Costa Rican authorities stated. If the viroid is detected, the shipments will be returned.
Costa Rica has already informed the World Trade Organization (WTO) about this new requirement.
Honduras is currently Costa Rica's main supplier of Hass avocado, after the country banned the entry of this fruit from Mexico, the world's leading exporter, and from eight other markets (Australia, Spain, Ghana, Guatemala, Israel, South Africa, Venezuela, and the state of Florida, in the United States) in 2015 to prevent the entry of the sunspot disease into the country. The measure, therefore, may pose a market supply problem.
The 2015 measure caused a trade clash with Mexico, the resolution of which is currently in the hands of a panel of experts at the WTO.
Last year, Costa Rica invested 3.64 million dollars in avocado purchases from Honduras, while total imports of the fruit totaled 12 million.
In the first four months of this year, imports from Honduras totaled 3.9 million dollars, i.e. 77.5% of all fresh avocado imports, which totaled 5.03 million dollars, according to data from the Statistical portal of the Foreign Trade Promoter (Procomer).