Colombia: Hass avocado exports to the US suspended due to pests

Last month, Colombia shipped its first two containers of Hass avocados to the United States, from two farms in Pacora, Caldas, that had been authorized by the Colombian Agricultural Institute (ICA) and the US Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (Aphis) to export the avocado.

The product arrived in good condition, as it complied with the filters of the Colombian and US authorities. However, the ICA discovered the presence of quarantine pests (Heilipus lauri, Heilipus trifasciatus and Stenoma catenifer) in the monthly monitoring it carries out on the authorized farms, and thus restricted their trade.

Emilio Arevalo, the technical director of plant epidemiology at the ICA, said: "An authorized orchard that presents outbreaks automatically loses the authorization for subsequent exports and must immediately implement the corrective actions to eradicate the plague that were established in the work plan between the Aphis and the ICA, so that they can be authorized to export again."

He also said that "Aphis must be informed immediately of any outbreak in an authorized site, and the technical teams of the ICA and Aphis must agree on the actions to be taken and when the orchards can be certified again. These pests are present in the producing departments of avocado reported in the 2012-2013 ICA study. The situation persists because no municipality or department in the country is free of pests. The pests are in many places. We started production in sites that were free of pests, which implies the creation of productive nuclei (the site plus the buffer area)," Arevalo said.


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