More PH mangos expected to reach US market
An agency under the United States Department of Agriculture has finally allowed the entry into the US of fresh Philippine mangos from areas other than Guimaras.
The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (Aphis) issued the ruling that took effect on Oct. 1.
The US agency expanded the list of areas in the Philippines said to be free of mango seed weevil and mango pulp weevil.
Before this ruling, Washington only allowed Philippine mangos from Guimaras Island to enter the continental United States.
US officials considered mangos from Guimaras to be free of pests.
Also, except for mangos from Palawan, mangos from elsewhere in the Philippines may be shipped to Hawaii and Guam.
Palawan mangos are banned in all areas of the United States because the mango pulp weevil is present in the province.
Last April, Aphis came up with a proposal to study other parts of the Philippines from where mangos could be sourced.
The agency also proposed to allow the importation of Philippine mangos from areas that are either free of mango seed weevil or are treated for the pest in accordance to US rules on the treatment of imported fruits.
In making such proposals, Aphis was said to agree to a request from the Philippines’ Bureau of Plant Industry for the United States to recognize the mango-growing regions of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao as free of mango seed weevil and mango pulp weevil.
Following the issuance of the proposed changes on rules related to the importation of Philippine mangos, Aphis then asked for comments from the American public.
Opposing comments included concerns about possible adverse effects on US mango producers as well as worries that mango seed weevil could be introduced into their country.
“Current imports from the Philippines comprise a negligible share of total fresh mango imports and the additional quantity of fresh mango that may be imported from the Philippines because of this rule is unlikely to make an appreciable difference in the total quantity imported,” Aphis said.
And unless all Philippine shipments are treated based on US rules, the agency said the new program would be suspended.
Aphis data showed that in 2010 and 2011, fresh mango exports to the United States from the Philippines averaged about 42,000 pounds—about 19 tons—a year.
The volume is considered “negligible.” In fact, it accounts for a mere 0.002 percent of total US mango imports that averaged more than 3.3 billion pounds (1.5 million tons) yearly between 2009 and 2012.
As for US mango production, this was pegged at about 6.6 million pounds (around 3,000 tons) yearly, and are mainly consumed where the farms are—in Florida, California, Texas and Hawaii.
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