The U.S. is lifting a ban on citrus imports from the Berkane region in Morocco, after the North African country took measures to bolster its measures to detect and control the Mediterranean fruit fly (Medfly).
The ban on imports of tangerines, clementines, mandarins, and sweet oranges grown in the northeast region was implemented on Dec. 23, 2o16.
Prior to the Federal Order prohibiting such imports, the fruit could be imported to the U.S. subject to commodity import requirements and operational work plan (OWP) safeguards.
The U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Agency (APHIS) took action to ban the citrus due to the detection of live Medfly larvae in Berkane citrus at a U.S. port of entry.
“In October 2017, APHIS personnel conducted a site visit to examine places of production, packinghouses, means of conveyance, and port of export in the Berkane Region of Morocco,” the entity said.
“Following the site visit, APHIS and Morocco’s national plant protection organization (ONSSA) modified the OWP to include additional safeguards in orchard surveying and fruit cutting protocols, and procedures for pre-cooling and temperature readings at packinghouses and upon loading at the port of export.
“APHIS determined that the new measures specified in the OWP effectively mitigate the pest risk and the Federal Order can safely be removed.”
The listing of restrictions now means that citrus may be imported from all Moroccan regions into the U.S.
Between Oct. 26 and Dec. 7, Berkane exported 13,600 metric tons (MT) to Russia, 10,600MT to Europe, 3,400MT to Canada and 300MT to other destinations. Exports over this period represent a 12% year-on-year increase.