Nov. 17, 2017 - More Americans are eating avocadoes, leading to a growth in nations exporting avocadoes to the United States. The International Services office in Bogota, Colombia plays a key role in ensuring that the avocadoes entering the United States are pest free, by working with Colombia’s national plant protection organization, Instituto Colombiano Agropecuario – ICA to ensure Colombia has pest free farms and packing facilities.
IS Regional Manager Marc Gilkey and IS Bogota Roberto Guzman worked with Colombian authorities to publish a rule allowing the importation of Colombian avocadoes. After publication of final rule in August, 2017, Colombian Hass avocados can now be exported to the United States complying with mitigation measures established in the operational work plan (OWP) signed with the ICA, and Colombia’s association of avocado producers, Corpohass.
Before avocadoes can be exported, the growing farms and a one-kilometer buffer zone must be certified free of three pests, Stenoma catenifer, Heilipus lauri and Heilipus trifasciatus. The NPPO along with the producers have been working in the last two years in an intense surveillance program to identify all the avocado trees in the one-kilometer buffer zone and control and eradicate all affected trees in the area. At the same time more than five packing facilities have been inspected and certified complying with the safeguarding conditions established in the OWP.
The first two containers (20 tons each) originating in two different farms in the Municipality of Pácora, Department of Caldas were inspected and approved for export to the ports of Long Beach in California and Port Everglades in Florida in late October. The open transparent communication mechanism IS created with Colombia ensured a successful first shipment. IS will maintain close communication with the Colombia’s ICA and with Corpohass for follow up on approval of certified farms and packing facilities.