At 30th anniversary of the Pre-Shipment Program SAG-USDA/APHIS-ASOEX, considered by U.S. authorities as a global model, as well as being the largest in the world.
The PSP - with 35% of Chilean shipments targets the U.S. market with products such as table grapes, cherries, blueberries and stone fruit- it has an infrastructure of five inspection areas in ports located in regions V, VI, VII and Metropolitan. In those areas about 135 different products like fruits, vegetables, flowers and flower bulbs, which have entry clearance to the U.S. are checked.
About 300 plants throughout the country, are staffed by SAG and USDA/APHIS, which oversees compliance with procedures.
The regional director of International Services for Latin America and the Caribbean of the USDA/APHIS/IS (International Service), Peter Fernandez, makes a positive assessment of the initiative:
After 30 years of this program, what is the balance?
- When you think that we started in 1982 with very limited exports of asparagus and raspberries, and now we reach more than 135 different products, including not only fruit, but vegetables, foliage and other flowers, is a success. It has increased to such an extent that out of the USD 2,300 million of exports, more than half are from fruits. Is an industry that has been growing and the good thing is that in the U.S. and here, the SAG was able to find a way to also to expand its capabilities in inspections.
How do you evaluate the phytosanitary issue in Chile?
- Chile is a very advanced country in plant and animal health issues. Remember that Chile was among the first countries recognized as FMD free, in the 80s, and that was not only geographical, but also was a recognition of the country's veterinary infrastructure. Similarly, in regard to plant health, we know that Chile is a country that if a problem arises, we know it has a good surveillance for these diseases and that it will respond quickly and energetically to ensure that it will regain its status. I think the U.S. and Chile have the opportunity to find many common areas of international work.
What could be the impact of the crisis on these issues?
- Obviously, the economic crisis has had an impact on consumption. We must also recognize that there is a great variety from common fruit to boutique fruit products and logically these specific types of products are less purchased, but that does not mean that the consumer will consume less fruit.