The export of cherries from Neuquen to Canada is at risk due to the unexpected phytosanitary requirements that Canada has imposed for this year's season.

The problem began on Tuesday when a shipment of 20,000 kilograms of cherries was rejected at the Ezeiza airport. According to marketers, Senasa did not communicate this new requirement on time.

There was an alert regarding the grapevine moth (Lobesia botrana) that attacks grapes and not cherries. However, Canada unilaterally decided not to accept shipments of all fruits until they have been treated.

The decision was taken as part of the demands made by the CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency), a Canadian agency similar to Senasa.

The measure generated uncertainty among producers who had begun to ship to that country, as well as to Singapore, Malaysia, and Hong Kong.

The shipment belongs to some eight establishments in the region, especially of San Patricio del ChaƱar and Centenario, which produce high quality cherries that are free of the fruit fly. That's why Canada's decision to restrict shipments was surprising.

After the shipments had been rejected, the only solution offered by the Canadian agency was that the fruit undergoes a treatment to eliminate the pest.

The treatment involves increasing the fruit's temperature to nearly 20 degrees (after having been at five degrees), which poses some conservation risks.

Shipping cherries to Canada has a high cost. Freight charges stand at 2.03 US dollars per kilo, i.e. 10.15 dollars per box shipped.