U.S. to allow Central American dragon fruit exports
Melissa's Produce/Word Variety Produce communications director Robert Schueller, said his company was interested in importing the fruit if it was as good quality as Vietnam's and California's produce.
"We are looking into getting the paper work in order to be ready to do it. After some samples we need to make sure it's good enough quality to distribute in the market place," he said.
While the Animal Plant Health and Inspection Service (APHIS) said regulations would be amended so the fruit could be shipped from May 16, in reality it's expected to take longer.
APHIS import specialist David Lamb said operational plans with exporting countries had not been worked out yet and it would be more like mid July before imports happened.
Nicaragua is likely to be the first out of the central American countries to ship as its operational plan is nearly complete. The country expects to export 1,200 metric tons (MT) annually to the U.S.
Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama are each expecting to realize similar annual exports.
Schueller said imports from Central America would probably be from December through to July supporting the Californian domestic season, which runs from August until late November.
APHIS requires that fruit exporters prove the dragonfruit came from pest-free production areas and that correct packaging procedures were followed.
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