Peru's Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation (MINAGRI) has announced a deal has been struck with U.S. authorities to allow imports of the South American country's fresh pomegranates and figs with irradiation treatment.
The announcement was made after a meeting held between Peru's National Agricultural Health Service (SENASA) and U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) representatives in Washington D.C.
"It involves a potential market of 320 million consumers in the U.S., and this achievement once again opens a new export opportunity, diversifies the export basket and benefits Peruvian growers," said Peruvian Agriculture Minister Juan Manual Benites Ramos.
"The steps for opening the North American market to Peruvian agri-exports have been reduced thanks to the work initiated last year by the Under Secretary for Agriculture of the country, Edward Avalos."
MINAGRI forecasts exports of pomegranates to the U.S. could vary between 10,000-20,000 metric tons (MT), or at a value from US$15 million to US$30 million.
In terms of figs, the quantity is expected to surpass 5,000MT, representing US$15 million in exports.
During the meeting, SENASA also raised suggestions to change the working plan for citrus exports to include new citrus-growing areas in the protocol.
MINAGRI said APHIS accepted the proposal and promised to speed up a prompt official response; the proposed measure would allow citrus exports from La Libertad, Ancash and Arequipa.
Peru has made a significant impact on the European pomegranate market in recent years, far overtaking its neighbor Chile during the Southern Hemisphere season. The country is expected to have a similar impact in the U.S.