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USDA Opens Comment Period for Colombian Avocado Access

The Agriculture Department on Thursday published for public comment the proposal that Colombia’s Hass avocados be admitted into the United States so long as a number of phytosanitary requirements are met. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is proposing to update its regulations to allow Hass avocado imports from Colombia, which is projecting increase production growth in the coming years. The development comes weeks after a strike in the Mexican avocado industry created supply shortages in the U.S. market. Annual U.S. avocado production over the last decade averaged 206,368 tons, of which California accounted for 87.5 percent.

The Andean nation’s National Plant Protection Organization (NPPO), has officially requested that its avocados be authorized for import, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is currently weighing the proposal. Early concerns are related to the condition of entry, Hass avocados from Colombia would have to be produced in accordance with a systems approach that would include requirements for importation in commercial consignments; registration and monitoring of places of production and packing houses; pest-free places of production; grove sanitation, monitoring, and pest control practices; lot identification; and inspection for quarantine pests by the Colombian national plant protection organization. Additionally, avocados from Colombia would be required to be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate with an additional declaration stating that the avocados have been produced in accordance with the proposed requirements. Shipments must also be inspected by Colombian plant health officials for quarantine pests.

APHIS will accept public comments on the proposal until Dec. 27.
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