After years of work, the possibility of exporting grapes without fumigation -a treatment that affects their quality and marketing- directly to the United States is getting closer and closer. One of the key conditions to achieve this is to have an inspection site for the System Approach protocol, that is, a facility where inspectors of the Agricultural and Livestock Service (SAG), under the supervision of USDA-APHIS officials, can inspect that the fruit under this system complies with the regulations and respective safety required of the fruit. A delegation visited the current cold storage facilities in the Pabellon sector of Tierra Amarilla, which would be refurbished to carry out quality review work and thus export fruits in compliance with the aforementioned protocol.
The delegation was composed of representatives of APECO, ASOEX, public, and private actors. The visit marks an important milestone in the progress in the materialization of this years-long project that has been part of the agenda of farmers and public distributions in Atacama.
Achieving the System Approach protocol will be the result of joint work between different actors and the key work of the Ministry of Agriculture. The Regional Minister of Agriculture, Ricardo Zamora, highlighted: "The Ministry has given R&D support through its INIA and SAG services to achieve a Systems Approach for our table grapes. We have also met with our peers in the United States with the aim of speeding up this process. We are confident that having this inspection site would help the US authorities the System Approach protocol more quickly so we can ship our fruit to their ports without methyl bromide."
Miguel Canala-Echeverria, general manager of ASOEX, said that they had all concluded the best location for the inspection site was in the Pabellón sector, towards the interior of the valley, because it is close to the production areas and the cold storage facilities in which the samples would be obtained to be sent to this inspection point. He also added that the proximity of the Nantoco bypass would facilitate the arrival of samples from the Huasco valley. "We are very pleased. We have held meetings with the Regional Government, the Regional Minister of Agriculture, and the director of the SAG, among others, and there is a total consensus regarding its importance and the desire of the Regional Government to contribute to materializing the construction of this place."
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