Joelle Hayden (301) 851-4040
Lyndsay Cole (970) 494-7410
WASHINGTON, July 17, 2012—The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) today announced that fresh blueberries from Oregon are being shipped to South Korea.
“Exporting fresh blueberries to South Korea opens up an important new market for Oregon blueberry growers,” said Rebecca Blue, deputy undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs. “While we previously exported frozen blueberries, we are excited for this new opportunity to showcase our country's fresh produce.”
The United States exported a record $174 million in fresh and frozen blueberries in 2011.
Demand for the fresh blueberries is high in South Korea, with growers potentially shipping up to one million pounds this season. The first shipment arrived in South Korea on July 2 and the blueberries are now on store shelves.
The market access agreement was developed jointly by APHIS, Oregon Department of Agriculture and South Korean plant health officials over a ten-year period. As part of the agreement, a South Korean official will be traveling to the U.S. for a site visit later this summer.
Under the terms of the agreement, blueberries exported to South Korea must adhere to a systems approach that includes field inspections, an annual onsite survey by South Korean agricultural officials, and inspection prior to export.
The Obama Administration, with Agriculture Secretary Vilsack's leadership, has aggressively worked to expand export opportunities and reduce barriers to trade, helping to push agricultural exports to record levels in 2011 and beyond. U.S. agriculture is currently experiencing one of its best periods in history thanks to the productivity and resourcefulness of our producers. Today, net farm income is at near record levels while debt has been cut in half since the 1980s. Overall, American agriculture supports 1 in 12 jobs in the United States and provides American consumers with 83 percent of the food we consume, while maintaining affordability and choice. Strong agricultural exports contribute to a positive U.S. trade balance, create jobs, boost economic growth and support President Obama's National Export Initiative goal of doubling all U.S. exports by the end of 2014.
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