Archive for the ‘Exports’ Category


Lisa and Cosmo
Parcel inspection dog ‘Cosmo.’

Trained canines are crucial ‘safety net’ for agriculture

Dogs are a crucial piece of our safety net to block invasive pests that threaten California’s farms, forests, and ecology, said A.G. Kawamura.

Cary Blake | Sep 29, 2017

Dogs are often called people’s ‘best friend’ and the shoe sure fits. Many dog lovers can attest to how canines make our lives better and hopefully the reverse is true. Canines can become heroes for many, including those in agriculture who produce, process, pack, and ship our nation’s food and fiber.

Eight years ago, Western Farm Press posted an article about a dog named Tassie, an ‘employee’ of the Sacramento Department of Agriculture. The trained canine intercepted a package of guava fruit and curry leaves sent from Texas to Sacramento with invasive pests inside – 100 Asian citrus psyllids (ACP).

Tassie’s timely find was truly heroic for California agriculture as the pesky half-inch-long ACP is the major vector of the bacteria Candidatus Liberibacter spp which causes the deadly citrus tree disease Huanglongbing.

Following Tassie’s heroic find, then California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Secretary A.G. Kawamura said, “They’re (dogs) a crucial piece of our safety net to block the arrival of invasive pests that continually threaten California’s farms, forests, and ecology.”

Just recently, another canine recently came to agriculture’s rescue. In late September, an Alameda County (Calif.) parcel inspection dog named Cosmo intercepted a package of limes sent from Florida infected with exotic citrus (bacterial) canker. The disease can cause premature fruit and leaf drop in citrus trees, resulting in production losses and economic harm to citrus growers.

Dogs including Tassie and Cosmo, and even a nervous or barking dog when fear nears, can make a major difference in our lives. According to The Washington Post, 18 month-old puppies are taught special skills to help wounded veterans perform everyday skills at home like shutting doors.

The website www.dogguide.net lists 25 heroic dogs that helped protect their humanoids from harm, including Moti, a five-year-old German shepherd who literally took a bullet for his human family when an armed, masked intruder entered the household.

Many agriculturalists can tell stories about how their pets make a big difference in their lives, including this writer. When it comes down to saving agriculture from harm’s way we owe a lot to our canine friends, including our respect, admiration, and hugs – shown in part by a well-deserved box of doggie treats.

TAGS: Insects

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August 25th, 2014
Tests carried out by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists have indicated fumigation of fresh fruit using phosphine is a promising alternative to the widespread methyl bromide, for an array of reasons including environmental impacts and food quality.

shutterstock_129876767-cherries-on-treeshutterstock_129876767 cherries on tree

Methyl bromide fumigation is being gradually phased out throughout the world, partly as it is particularly damaging to the environment and destroys the atmospheric ozone.

Speaking at the International Seminar on the Potential Uses of Phosphine as a Fumigation Treatment, organized by the company Fosfoquim and held in the Chilean capital Santiago, a U.S. Agriculture Research Service (ARS) representative said the produce industry was eager to find practical alternatives to methyl bromide.

“There’s an enormous push from our fresh fruit exporters to put another tool in the basket,” ARS chemical researcher Dr. Spencer Walse told the audience.

“Methyl bromide is a ball of politics, economics and science. It is safe to say it is now out of the court of science and into a political and economic issue.”

Easily transferable

During his talk, Walse explained the benefits of using phosphine as an alternative fumigation were in no way limited to environmental impacts, but included being able to maintain the cold chain supply, not having to adjust the treatment according to the type or weight of specific commodities, and improving worker safety.

“A very unique and advantageous feature of phosphine relative to methyl bromide is we no longer have to worry about how much load is in the fumigation chamber, or really what type is in the fumigation chamber, because phosphine takes longer to work than methyl bromide,” he said.

“With the phosphine fumigation the insecticidal data that we collect on one commodity, as long as it’s a fresh fruit – a fruit filled with water – should be very easily transferable to other fresh fruit.

“It turns out that even over the first couple of hours of fumigation, the phosphine is going into the commodity faster than methyl bromide.

“That we know by monitoring the absorbing in the very early stages of the fumigation. Then when we can see that relative ability of that gas to go into the load reflected in how fast the gas comes out of the load.”

The safety aspect also apply to consumers, since lower chemical residue is left on the fruit than with methyl bromide.

In addition to the safety credentials of the phosphine treatment, Walse discovered that it had a positive effect on the quality of fruits like cherries compared to control samples after a couple of days, as browning occurred at a slower rate.

Need for the efficacy data

Companies like Fosfoquim have been successfully using phosphine fumigation treatments since 2001, and there has been a huge diversification in its global application in recent years.

Walse said that phosphine didn’t fall immediately into place as an alternative to methyl bromide in the U.S. because extensive scientific tests needed to be carried out to assess a range of aspects relating to the treatment.

“We need the efficacy data and the insecticidal toxicity needs to be consistent with international phytosanitary protocols. We also need to examine what the impacts of the treatment are on each pest that needs to be examined,” he said.

Thus far the tests into insecticidal toxicity have been encouraging, with the fumigation treatment found to be effective against common fruit pests such as the Asian citrus Psyllid, Aonidiella aurantii (red scale), Drosophila Suzukii and Epiphyas postvittana (light brown apple moth).

Logistical and operational changes

While Walse praised several key aspects of phosphine fumigation and said it was a strong and feasible alternative to methyl bromide, he added there would undoubtedly be a large cost for companies who wished to make the transition and they would have to wait longer for the fruit to be treated.

“The cons of course are related to the fact that in general we’re dealing with a longer treatment time. It’s not so bad because we’re obviously at cold temperatures but instead of hours we’re now talking about days,” he said.

“It [also] requires a change in infrastructure, and industries have to recognize this. When you change it’s going to cost money to modify your operations and that’s going to be reflected by a change in logistics.”

Photo: http://www.shutterstock.com


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July 21st, 2014
The South African citrus industry is on the hunt for answers as to how a consignment with citrus black spot (CBS) was intercepted in Europe, after receiving word from plant health authorities in the Netherlands today.

citrus – peel unravel panorama


The interception is the first this year and as a result the industry has been issued a notification of phytosanitary non-compliance.

“This is disappointing news particularly considering the steps taken to ensure compliance with, and demonstrate commitment to meeting, the European Union’s requirements, at enormous cost to the SA government and citrus industry – including testing regimes and a comprehensive CBS risk management,” Citrus Growers’ Association (CGA) of Southern Africa CEO Justin Chadwick said in a release.


“The Citrus Growers Association (CGA) will today dispatch an accredited expert to accompany representatives of the DAFF [Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries] to the farm in question to investigate how CBS could have slipped through the risk management net and, importantly, to propose any remedial measures necessary to prevent a reoccurrence.”

Chadwick said CGA’s special envoy to the EU, Deon Joubert, was dispatched to Europe today for discussions on the matter with all stakeholders.

“While today’s interception is a setback, it is also an opportunity for us to improve our risk management processes, which we will continue to implement in order to ensure unrestricted trade conditions for the immediate future,” Chadwick said.

The executive emphasized that for the long term, it was important to note that there has been no agreement since 1992 between South Africa and the European Union on the risk of CBS being transmitted by fruit.

“There is still no agreement on whether commercial fruit from areas where CBS is present is a risk to citrus-producing countries of the EU where CBS is absent, the magnitude of any possible risk, or the measures required for adequate mitigation of the actual risk,” he said.

“It remains imperative that this difference of opinion – and the science that underlies it – is resolved once and for all.”

He added the EU continued to be an important historic market for the South African citrus industry.

“The CGA calls on the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Minister Senzeni Zokwana, to prioritise the swift and amicable resolution of the CBS dispute with the European Union,” Chadwick said.

“The future of this important agricultural sector, the 120 000 jobs and their 1,2 million dependents depend on it.”

Photo: http://www.shutterstock.com



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The Philippines said an insect infestation had damaged another 400,000 coconut trees over the past week and could spread to the key growing areas by the end of this year, severely crippling the country’s most valuable agricultural export.

The fast-spreading infestation at the world’s top coconut oil exporter at a time when global demand is seen outstripping production from Asia, home to 85 percent of output, could further boost prices of the commodity in the world market. “The rate of infestation is very high,” Secretary Francis Pangilinan, who is in charge of the country’s food security, said on Monday while announcing a 24 percent jump in the number of trees affected in the past week to 2.1 million.

“If we don’t intervene, by the end of the year, Regions 5 and 9 would be affected too,” he said, referring to two key growing areas that account for about a fifth of the national output. “It’s a race against time.” Coconut oil prices in Rotterdam have jumped 13 percent this year to a high above $1,420 per tonne in June, as damage to trees from pests tightened supplies that have already been hit by last year’s typhoon in the Philippines.

While the 2.1 million affected trees represent less than 1 percent of the country’s more than 300 million coconut trees, Pangilinan said the entire Philippine coconut industry could get wiped out in just a matter of months if emergency measures to combat the infestation fail.

The country has already taken emergency measures to head off the coconut scale infestation, such as pruning of leaves and spraying of pesticides. The insect feeds on the leaves of the coconut tree, sucking nutrients until the leaves turn yellow, then die and fall off. A thousand insects can multiply to about 200,000 in just 45 days, said Romulo Arancon, administrator of the state agency Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA).

There is no official estimate yet on the loss of output from the infestation, but Pangilinan, also chairman of the PCA board, has said the damage could result in losses of more than 33 billion pesos ($756 million) in a year if it spreads to major coconut-growing provinces such as the Bicol region and the Zamboanga Peninsula. The country’s annual exports of coconut products averaged $1.3 billion in the past two years.

Overseas sales of coconut oil, used in products from food to fuel, have dwindled this year after Super Typhoon Haiyan damaged about 34 million trees late last year. Preliminary industry data showed January to May coconut oil shipments plunged 49 percent from a year ago to 302,297 tonnes. The industry group United Coconut Associations of the Philippines, which for now has retained its estimate for a 24.5 percent drop in exports this year to 850,000 tonnes, has said the insect infestation could further hurt output.

Copyright Reuters, 2014

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Salman Siddiqui
Sunday, May 11, 2014
From Print Edition

KARACHI: The Pakistan Quarantine Department of Plant Protection (DPP) has so far declared only 15 farms of mangoes eligible to export the fruit to the Europe Union (EU) without hot water treatment, All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchants Association (PFVA) reported on Saturday.

However, majority of the farms located in Sindh will still have to treat the fruit to kill flies, as the DPP has so far declared only one farm eligible in the province to export the fruit without the treatment to EU nations, Waheed Ahmed, spokesman of the association, said after attending a meeting summoned by the Ministry of National Food Security and Research in Islamabad the other day.

The export of the fruit is set to start from May 25, while Sindh is the first province in the country that picks mangoes. Punjab follows Sindh in picking and exporting mangoes, it was learnt.

The food secretary chaired the said meeting. Another participant of the meeting Seerat Asghar Joura said that the department had initially estimated to declare eligible about 100 farms for the export with the treatment.

Tariq Khan, deputy director of DPP, said that the process of the inspection and registration of farms had yet not been over in the country. “This may remain lasted till Punjab starts producing and exporting the fruit sometime in July,” he said.

Officials of the quarantine department, which is responsible to make sure exporting pest and fruit fly-free mangoes to the world, have visited 35 orchards in Sindh and 36 orchards in Punjab so far.

The department has approved only one farm in Sindh to export the fruit without hot water treatment, while other 34 could not export their fruit without giving the treatment, sources said.

While in Punjab, the department has approved 14 orchards, rejected three and asked remaining 19 orchards to improve their standards to export their fruit without the treatment, they said.

There are only four with the approved treatment plants. Durrani Associates own three of them. Babar Durrani of the associates said that his company was charging Rs20 per kilogramme for the treatment.

“The treatment helps exporter to earn up to 50 percent additional revenue against those who export their fruits without the treatment,” Durrani said.

He, who also attended the meeting, said that exporting pest- and fly-free mangoes to EU was a serious challenge instead of an opportunity. If the EU bans Pakistan like it banned Indian mangoes in April might result into halt of exports of the fruit to many other counties as well, he said.

Durrani said that the meeting resolved to export only quality fruit to EU. “All exporters at the meeting agreed to set their focus on quality instead of quantity to EU nations,” he said.

Ahmed of PFVA said that the ministry had also approved exporting mangoes into boxes of weight of two kilogrammes, three kg, four kg, and five kg, and banned export of the fruit in 1.5 kg of box.

“The box of 1.5 kg cannot accommodate big size mangoes, while there are always chances of fruit flies in small size mangoes,” he said.

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May 05 2014

By Khetam Malkawi

AMMAN — Farmers’ education and empowerment should be a sustainable process in Jordan, especially since agriculture is one of the sectors in the Kingdom that employs guest workers, officials said on Monday.
In a country with a growing population that has almost reached 10 million, there has to be continuous education for agricultural workers, Agriculture Ministry Secretary General Radi Tarawneh said at a workshop organised by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

Tarawneh added that the sector is very important to the country’s economy, but there are several challenges that should be overcome.

These challenges, he noted, include contradictory pieces of legislation and urban encroachment on agricultural land.
However, local crops and agricultural products are tested and free of pesticides, the official stressed.

“There were news reports claiming the opposite, while others claimed that wastewater treated at the Khirbet Al Samra plant is used to irrigate crops for human consumption… this is false news,” Tarawneh said.
During the workshop, the FAO announced the conclusion of its 10-year Regional Integrated Pest Management (IPM) project, which was launched in 2004 and also implemented in Jordan.

Andrea Berloffa, emergency coordinator and liaison officer at FAO Jordan, said the project was aimed at improving the food and nutrition security of rural populations through development and implementation of sustainable agriculture practices in six countries, including Jordan, and was expanded in 2010 to include another four countries in the region.

According to Berloffa, education and empowerment of farmers was a “key activity of the IPM programme” that is based on the utilisation of farmer field schools (FFS).

He cited figures indicating that the project established more than 150 FFS in Jordan and over 2,500 farmers — 20 per cent of whom were women — benefited from these schools.

Berloffa explained that the FFS gives farmers the opportunity to learn how to deal with problems they face on their farms, exchange experience and learn how to improve the quality of their crops.

One achievement of the projects, according to the FAO official, is the institutionalising of the FFS approach by the National Centre for Agricultural Research and Extension (NCARE).

“Since 2008, the FFS approach has been incorporated and budgeted into the annual plans of the NCARE… initiating for the first time the participatory extension unit.”

Due to its impact on the country’s agricultural sector, the project received the International IPM Award of Recognition in 2012 from the US, according to National IPM and FFS Project Coordinator Ashraf Hawamdeh.

Hawamdeh noted that the project also had a direct impact on farmers’ livelihoods and some of the FFS beneficiaries succeeded in exporting more than 800 tonnes of tomatoes and 200 tonnes of cucumbers in 2009.

© Jordan Times 2014

© Copyright Zawya. All Rights Reserved.


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From: Lodi News-Sentinel

European grapevine moth quarantine lifted

Posted: Wednesday, February 29, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 5:57 am, Wed Feb 29, 2012.

Lodi growers are looking forward to a reprieve from some stiff state regulations to keep the European grapevine moth under control. A quarantine over San Joaquin County agriculture will lift on March 8, though officials say some controls will remain in place to monitor the pest. Quarantines were also lifted from Fresno, Merced and Mendocino counties.

“Thank God they lifted the quarantine,” said Joe Valente, vineyard and orchard manager for Kautz Farms. “We had to treat those sections different for a couple years.”

Working within the regulations added up to more work for growers.

Kautz Farms has a few acres directly affected by quarantine and a few other fields within 1,000 meters of the area. Those zones had to be treated with special pesticides. Harvesters and other equipment had to be cleaned after use at each field within the quarantined area, a 96-square-mile zone surrounding Lodi. For growers shipping freshly packed wine grapes and other produce, there was an added hurdle of paperwork. The regulations extended through the industry from growers to wineries.

About 660,000 acres will be released from quaratine.

The Lodi District Grape Growers Association complimented the coordination between the San Joaquin County Agriculture Commission, the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the USDA to keep on top of the quarantine.

Amy Blagg, executive director, recalled the challenges of new regulations in August 2010, just before that year’s harvest.

“It took a lot of cooperation to make sure everyone was working under the compliance agreements,” said Blagg.

Two pests still require quarantine regulations. Part of the confusion was in meeting the correct requirements for the Oriental fruit fly, light brown apple moth and the European grapevine moth.

The problem with the moth is the larvae will burrow inside maturing fruit and leave an open wound prone to rot. While only two moths were found in the Lodi area, it was enough to trigger the strict quarantine.

But Scott Hudson, agricultural commissioner for San Joaquin County, is confident the pest is gone.

A trapping program will continue for the 2012 growing season. Five thousand moth traps will be placed by Friday.

“It’s such a pest of concern. This is extra insurance that we are free by trapping another season,” said Hudson, adding that some kind of trapping program will continue was long as the pest is in the state.

Those traps will be paid for in part by $8 million in federal funding to continue the program, announced U.S. Agricultural Secretary Tom Vilsack. The funds go to continue the program in all four counties where the quarantine was lifted.

Contact reporter Sara Jane Pohlman at sarap@lodinews.com.

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