More Philippine pineapples, mangoes could soon enter U.S. market

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More Philippine pineapples, mangoes could soon enter U.S. market

More Philippine-grown pineapples and mangoes could enter the U.S. after the two countries' authorities reportedly agreed to resolve pending issues on the entry of the agricultural products.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Philippine Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Plant Industry (DA-BPI) said they and the USDA-APHIS have agreed to thresh out several pending issues during a virtual meeting on August 12, 2021, local website GMA Network reports.

With the recent agreement between the USDA-APHIS and DA-BPI, the Philippines could dramatically increase exports of pineapples and resume shipments of mangoes to the US through additional ports of entry, the Agriculture department said.

Currently, Philippine fresh pineapples reach the US through Guam, Commonwealth of Marianas Island, and North Atlantic regions, according to the DA-BPI.

From 2013 to July 15, 2021, exports amounted to only 346,190 kilograms.

Philippine fresh mangoes exports to the US from 2005 to 2008 totaled 386,099 kilograms, all produced in Guimaras Island, the DA-BPI said.

A report to Agriculture Secretary William Dar -- through DA-BPI director George Culaste -- Joselito Antioquia, officer-in-charge chief of the DA-BPI national plant quarantine services division said the USDA-APHIS has accepted the evidence that the "Smooth Cayenne", the Philippines' main export pineapple variety, is not a host to the oriental fruit fly.

The fruit pest, known scientifically as Bactrocera dorsalis (Hendel), is very destructive and often finds its way into the US, sometimes triggering wide-scale eradication programs.

After the DA-BPI agrees on the measures, APHIS will publish the initial notice in the Federal Register for a 60-day stakeholder comment period, review any comments, and then publish the final notice that allows the expanded market access for Philippine pineapples into the US, except Hawaii, he said.

The Philippines may start shipping pineapples to various US markets before yearend, he added.

Moreover, the USDA-APHIS agreed to draft an operational work plan (OWP) for irradiation of Philippine fresh mangoes upon arrival in the US. The DA-BPI will provide APHIS official comments on the OWP.

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