The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is publishing a final rule.
The measures include requirements for packing house registration, orchard monitoring and control of pests, fruit culling, biometric sampling, a phytosanitary certificate with additional declaration, port of entry inspection and traceback.
“This action would allow the importation of fresh persimmons with calyxes from Japan while continuing to protect against the introduction of plant pests into the United States,” APHIS said.
Most U.S. persimmon production takes place in California, where 2013 production totaled about 35,700 metric tons (MT) valued at about US$40 million, triple the 2011 level of production, it said.
U.S. persimmon imports totaled 1,757 MT valued at about US$3 million in 2014, US$2 million of which were persimmons imported from Israel and US$400,000 from Spain.
APHIS also said that Japan’s persimmon acreage and production had been gradually declining over the last decade, with less than 1% of production – equivalent to 578MT – exported in 2014.
It also noted that the average export price of Japanese persimmons in 2014 was more than double the average farm-gate price for persimmons produced in California.
“The wide price differential between persimmons exported from Japan and persimmons imported or produced by the United States suggests that the competitiveness of persimmons from Japan in the U.S. market would be limited,” it said.
Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) expects 30-50MT of fresh persimmons to be exported to the U.S. in the first year, and the same or additional amounts in following years, according to APHIS.