Dominican Republic continues importing fruit and veg from US. despite ban

Last month, the Dominican Republic banned imports of fruit and vegetables from some areas of the United States (US ) because of the appearance of the oriental fruit fly (Bactrocera dorsalis), in the areas of California and Florida.

However, these agricultural products are still being imported from other US production areas where the bug is not present. The country has failed to implement the measure despite the nearly nine months that have passed since the Mediterranean fruit fly was detected in the region of Punta Cana, Province of La Altagracia, USA.

"They are very advanced in eradicating the eastern fly, and we've been receiving fruits as normal from the counties that have no presence of this pest," said the Minister of Agriculture, Angel Estevez.

The ban covers pears, strawberries, grapes, apples, citrus, cherries, tomatoes, peaches, and other fruits and vegetables included in the official list of hosts of the fly. However, Estevez said, there won't be a lack of these foods, some of which are highly demanded at Christmas time, because the United States is very big and they produce them in many places.

The Ministry of Agriculture stated that, although imports from pest free areas were permitted, the country was taking all preventive measures and that they were thoroughly inspecting the passengers coming from the States of California and Florida to avoid the entry of fruits and plant insect hosts into the country.

Additionally, Estevez reiterated that the country was ready to prevent the entry of this or any other pests, into the Dominican, that could affect agriculture territory. He recalled that the country had installed around 1,000 traps to capture any insect at the country's ports and airports.

"If any fly arrived into the country, we would immediately capture it and apply the protocol. We are ready for this contingency," he said.

Estevez spoke about this topic after attending the opening of the thirteenth session of the Commission on Livestock Development for Latin America and the Caribbean (CODEGALAC), a meeting in which agriculture ministers and heads of livestock from several countries of Latin America and the Caribbean evaluate the challenges faced by the livestock sector in the region.

The meeting was organized by the Ministry of Agriculture and the Food and Agriculture Organization.


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