Argentina to boost cherry exports to U.S. after fruit fly victory - FreshFruitPortal.com

Argentina to boost cherry exports to U.S. after fruit fly victory

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Argentina to boost cherry exports to U.S. after fruit fly victory

Argentine exporters can now air freight cherries from Mendoza straight to the U.S. without damaging cold treatment now that the state has been declared a fruit fly free zone.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has recognized the central and southern municipalities of Mendoza, inclu ding Tupungato, Tunuyán, San Carlos, Malargüe, San Rafael and General Alvear, as fruit fly free.

The news is a major boost for exporters who will no longer have to conduct previously required treatments, which will reduce costs and improve export logistics for other stonefruit such as peaches, plums, pears and apricots.

Argentina’s Ministry for Agriculture, Livestock and Fishing (MINAGRI) described the news as a major achievement and recognition of extensive technical work between U.S. and Argentine health and inspection agencies.

However, Argentine authorities have issued an alert over a mite threat to plum crops in the Mendoza municipality of General Alvear, website Sitioandino.com reported.

"After traveling around properties in the zone we have seen appearances of mites, which is a major pest in plum crops and we would like farmers to be aware of treatments," General Alvear Agriculture Directorate representative Leandro Silvestre was quoted as saying.

He told the website control of the pest was critical as its consequence is defoliation, turning leaves yellow, which in severe cases affects the clarity and quantity of fruit.

"[That's] Not just this year but in the coming seasons when the plant already has a general weakening and thus we would have a decrease in fruit for the next seasons."

The story reported current conditions were more favorable for mite outbreaks, with a lot of wind and low humidity.

The U.S. imported a total of US$171.5 million dollars of cherries and stonefruit (peaches, plums and apricots) in 2010, mainly from Chile and Canada ,with Argentina the third-largest provider accounting for US$1.5 million dollars.

Argentina's stonefruit exports represent only 1.2% of total fruit exports to the U.S. due to a limited marketing window of the fruit once it has been cold treated.

In the case of pears, the U.S. imported US$83 million in 2010, and Argentina was the second-largest supplier with US$32 million.

Related stories: Argentine govt asks growers to take steps to contain fruit flies

Photo: Laopinion.cl

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