Costa Rican pineapple industry to finally receive Chinese inspectors

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Costa Rican pineapple industry to finally receive Chinese inspectors

A Chinese inspector delegation is due to make its final visit to Costa Rica in February to certify pineapple exports, nearly a year and a half after the two countries signed the protocol agreement. 

The pest risk analysis (PRA) was completed in 2014, and the protocols were signed in September the following year.

But to begin shipments, Costa Rican pineapple exporters have had to wait for a final visit of inspectors from China's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), which will now take place on Feb. 11.

The inspectors will visit production areas and packinghouses in Guapiles, Sarapiquí, San Carlos y Upala, according to  José Miguel Jiménez, of the State Phytosanitary Service. 

In a statement sent to Fresh Fruit Portal, National Chamber of Pineapple Growers and Exporters (CANAPEP) president Abel Chaves said it was unclear why there had been such a delay in the final delegation visit.

"Originally we were hoping this visit would be in the middle of 2016 but it wasn't until last November that it was finalized, and now the visit will be in February 2017," he said.

He believed exports would begin as soon as AQSIQ was able to read the report produced by the two inspectors.

Pineapple exporters would aim to achieve a strong market penetration quickly, according to Chaves, but he said ultimately the percentage of shipments sent to China would be determined by the level of demand, the price and the transit time required to reach the destination.

He added the Central American country had a reputation for producing high-quality standards that met rigorous phytosanitary requirements with an extensive traceability system. 

"Conquering new markets has been and will always been one of our objectives. We know that we have all the technical knowledge to continue to be successful, and furthermore, in Costa Rica there is no agricultural sector like pineapple production that is so regulated by environmental and social legislation," he said.

"China will be another opportunity for our country's agriculture, not just fresh pineapples, but other subproducts like dried fruit, juices, concentrates and frozen pineapple.

"We are sure that it is by doing this that we have achieved such success in the North American and European markets."

Costa Rica exported around 2 million metric tons (MT) of conventional and organic pineapple last, both fresh and by way of value added products. Chaves expects exports to increase 8% during 2017.




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