China lifts quarantine on key Chilean avocado regions
China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) had applied the measures to the IV (Coquimbo), V (Valparaiso) and RM (Metropolitana) regions, but now quarantine zone will be limited to within a 27.2km radius of each fruit fly detection, as previously agreed by both countries in 2009.
With the development, cold treatment will no longer be required for fruits including grapes, blueberries, apples, kiwifruit, and plums being shipped to the Asian giant.
Hass avocado exports can also resume, as they had been on hold to due to the effect the previous measures would have had on the variety. The three regions collectively produce the vast majority of Chile’s avocado export volumes.
"A couple of days ago China officially informed us it had adopted a procedure to safeguard its phytosanitary health, which is gradually being adapted to international standards," Chile's Agriculture Minister Carlos Furche said.
"The consequence of this is that we effectively have, as of now, an open Chinese market for all our products. It was already open for many, but now this favors in particular avocados, which were our biggest concern.
"Some key destinations for our avocado exports are currently the European Union and the United States, but I believe that it is excellent news for our producers and exporters that the Chinese market has opened in favorable conditions."
Chilean Fruit Exporters Association (ASOEX) president Ronald Bown said there would be great opportunities for shippers in China now that the 'complex restrictions' had been lifted.
"This week has certainly been beneficial for our industry. I also want to highlight the important visit made by U.S. authorities to the country, who told us the process for easing restrictions for our lemon exports is advancing rapidly," Bown said, adding that lemon exports currently required treatment.
"All this will improve the quality on arrival of our fruits, and therefore also our competitiveness."
According to ASOEX, during the 2014-15 season Chile exported a total of 67,626 metric tons (MT) of avocados, with more than 45,000MT going to Europe, around 10,000MT to Latin America, followed by the U.S. and the Far East.
Exportadora Santa Cruz general manager Javier Fuchslocher said while avocados were not a basic consumption item China, there was a lot of potential. He said currently in China between 20-30 containers were consumed on a weekly basis, but this 'could soon multiply ten-fold'.