USDA declares European grapevine moth eradication in four counties
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has declared the key Californian fruit-growing counties of Fresno, Mendocino, Merced and San Joaquin as European grapevine moth (EGVM) free.
The new status means export restrictions on EGVM host commodities like stonefruit and grapes will be lifted for these areas, opening up opportunities for shipments to Mexico.
USDA deputy under secretary for marketing and regulatory programs Rebecca Blue, said the removal of quarantine of the pest in these counties from will save growers an estimated US$10 million annually.
"USDA is committed to partnering with our stakeholders in the fight against invasive pests and doing our part to minimize their impact on agricultural trade and export markets for American agricultural products," she said.
The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and its state partners have been working on eradication of the pest since it was detected in California in 2009, through outreach, surveys, quarantine enforcement and grower-led treatments.
The eradication declaration comes as a result of no new detections over a two-year timeframe.
"APHIS supplied Mexican agricultural officials with surveillance data and official notification that EGVM has been eradicated from the four counties in California," said Blue.
"APHIS’ removal of these counties from the EGVM quarantine triggered Mexico’s removal of restrictions on exports of EGVM host commodities, providing much-needed economic relief for growers."
Mexico is an important export market for Californian fruit growers - last year the state exported 5.7 million boxes of fresh table grapes to the southern neighbor, with a value of US$102.1 million.
Stonefruit growers shipped 3.4 million cartons of fruit to Mexico in 2011 with a value of US$45 million.