The country had sent a batch of oranges to the U.S. in December 2015 but the shipment was rejected by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) on phytosanitary grounds and market access was blocked, according to Celifrut.
The market reopened in February this year with new export protocols, and Celifrut recently carried out a 23-metric-ton (MT) orange shipment which should arrive at the Port of Philadelphia in late August.
The company’s general manager, Juan Carlos Celis, told Fresh Fruit Portal the shipment left Colombia on August 12 from the Port of Barranquilla. The fresh fruit would be distributed to retailers, he said.
The export protocol announced in February includes a systems approach and cold treatment requirement to mitigate for pests. Celis said that the fruit must complete 17 days of cold treatment at 1.6ºC.
He added that there are currently five Colombian sweet citrus farms registered for export to the U.S. and a further 16 in the process of certification.
“The expectation is that all will be certified and we hope that everything goes well with this first container and that it meets the U.S.’s requirements so we can continue exporting,” he said.