Grenada has resumed the exportation of fresh mangoes to the United States, following the lifting of an almost twenty-year ban imposed by the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).
The first commercial batch in almost two decades was shipped on Wednesday (May 3) by well-known trafficker Patrick ‘Carlo’ King. The shipment comprised three varieties of mangoes – St Julian/ Julie, Ceylon and Graham.
“We have not found any weevils or larvae and it is safe to say that the shipment is safe for the market,” said Pest Management Officer Thaddeus Peters.
Peters was part of a two-person pest management unit team that assisted King with visual and internal pest evaluations, particularly for mango-seed weevils and fruit flies.
The resumption of commercial exportation comes almost a year after the launch of the USDA- APHIS “Don’t Pack a Pest” program, which promoted awareness among intra-regional and international travellers about the risks that they take in packing and carrying agricultural items as they move towards the United States and the Caribbean.
Peters said while the move is significant for farmers and traffickers in Grenada to improve their foreign exchange earnings and livelihoods, the lifting of the ban only applies to commercial shipments.
“It is important for the public to know that passengers cannot travel with mangoes to the United States. They are being reminded that only commercial traffickers who were issued with official clearance from the unit and have made the agreements with a facility in the United States to have it treated before it goes to the market, will be qualified to do so,” Peters emphasised.
He also noted that the Pest Management Unit examines trafficker-identified fields before export.
Evan Alexander, Plant Quarantine Officer, said field trips in the parish “assessed fruits in various areas and recommended the areas where no larvae or pupae were found or signs of the Mango-seed weevil to the trafficker”.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, Fisheries and Cooperatives, through the Pest Management Unit, safeguards the agriculture industry from the impacts of pests and diseases which can affect food supply, natural resources, ecosystems, and many other aspects of day-to- day life.