Resumption of mango exports to US seen next mo
- Rocel Felix () - April 27, 2004 - 12:00am
The country is expected to resume exports of fresh Guimaras mangoes to the United States by next month after the conclusion of an inspection tour being conducted by American quarantine experts.

Exports of mangoes from Guimaras Island off the coast of Iloilo were suspended last year after a trial shipment in 2002 to allow the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to carry out quarantine procedures in the Philippines.

Under a USDA-Philippine Cooperative Service Agreement signed in 2002, the country is required to deposit at least $51,170 to the USDA Trust Fund to pay for the cost of bringing USDA quarantine inspectors to Guimaras.

Roberto C. Amores, president of Hi-las Marketing Corp., a member of the Philippine Mango Exporters Foundation Inc., said the DA promised to shoulder at least $40,000. The exporters said they advanced the initial amount required but up to now they have not been reimbursed of their expenses.

"Since this is a developing business, we need government to support the industry in its efforts to find new markets," said Amores.

Agriculture Secretary Luis Lorenzo Jr. said the government was able to raise money to bring in inspectors from the USDA to check the quality of mangoes from Guimaras before the fruits are allowed to enter the US market.

He said the amount raised was equivalent to half the cost of travel and other incidental expenses which two US inspectors will incur during their stay in the Philippines to check its mango production and processing facilities.

Lorenzo said the provincial government of Guimaras made a deposit to the trust fund last March 12. A USDA inspector has arrived in the country and he found the vapor heat treatment facilities at the Food Terminal Inc. complex in Taguig and its plant quarantine procedures acceptable to US strict plant inspection requirements.

Another US inspector was scheduled to arrive April 23 to evaluate how the country treats its fruits and to conduct pre-shipment inspection, two procedures which Lorenzo says should not pose any problem to the Bureau of Plant Industry and local fruit producers and exporters.

Aside from the US, the Philippines has been exporting fresh mangoes to Japan, South Korea, Belgium and some other countries in southeast Asia and Middle East, Lorenzo said. Last year’s shipments to Japan amounted to 6.7 million kilos.

Major exporters are DHM Philippine Produce Co. of businessman Alex Litton, Diamond Star of Davao-based tropical fruit grower Jesus Ayala, Marsman-Drysdale headed by former Agriculture Secretary Roberto Sebastian.

AGRICULTURE SECRETARY LUIS LORENZO JR. AGRICULTURE SECRETARY ROBERTO SEBASTIAN ALEX LITTON ASIA AND MIDDLE EAST BUREAU OF PLANT INDUSTRY DIAMOND STAR OF DAVAO FOOD TERMINAL INC GUIMARAS GUIMARAS ISLAND JESUS AYALA LORENZO
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