CHINA to open its doors for Costa Rican pineapples ‘within four months’

Costa Rica should see its first China-bound pineapple shipment ‘within the next four months’, following a successful visit by Chinese authorities to the Central American country.


Three officials from China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) ended a 1.5-week visit to Costa Rica last Wednesday, having conducted a full audit of the nation’s pineapple industry.


AQSIQ’s visiting officials included senior agronomist Dr. Wu Xingxia and plant quarantine laboratory director Li Huiping.


National Chamber of Pineapple Growers and Exporters (CANAPEP) president Christian Herrera Leon, who was with the officials throughout their visit, said he was confident with how everything went.


“From our point of view, I think that the visit was very successful – they were very satisfied with all our controls,” Leon told


“I can say with no doubt that Costa Rica has the best technology for growing pineapples in the world.”


The Chinese authorities began the visit by auditing government agencies – including the phytosanitary service, pesticide residues laboratory, and the plant quarantine laboratory in the capital San Jose – along with going through the country’s legislation on pest control.


The second step was to visit seven projects in all three of Costa Rica’s main growing regions – the Atlantic region, the Northern Plains, and the South West region on the Pacific coast near the Panamanian border.


“They focused on the most important 10 pests and weeds, so they came to check how the controls are in the whole pineapple industry of those insects and weeds specifically,” Leon said


“They checked the conditions of the fields, the conditions of the packing houses, and then how the exports are done, what the controls are, and the agricultural certifications.


“So they came here auditing almost any concern of the pineapple industry. At the end we designed the phytosanitary protocols for Chinese authorities to check pineapples at the ports of entry in China.”


‘Not an easy transit time – but it’s possible’


Leon said the visit by the Chinese scientists marked the closing stages of three years’ ‘intense back and forth communication’ between the two countries, following the free trade agreement coming into effect in August 2011.


“I think the document will be ready in a couple of months for the signature of the authorities, so I think that in the next four months we should be able to reach the market,” he said.


“When they do the visit it’s the last part of their communication, so they will have already written the protocol.”


Leon also said there was ‘a lot of expectation’ from the Costa Rican pineapple industry, but explained the main challenges as far as exports were concerned would be ensuring fruit could arrive in good quality after a relatively long sea voyage.


“Technically it is possible to reach the Chinese market with good quality fruit, but the first challenge is to check if the actual shipping has transit times suitable for the product,” he said.


“It’s about 25 days Shanghai. So in terms of quality it is a little challenge, but that’s a similar time it takes for us to get to St Petersburg in Russia, and that quality’s okay.


“So far it’s not an easy transit time – but it’s possible.”


Leon added the market situation in China looked promising, despite a local production and current pineapple imports from Laos and the Philippines.


The CANAPEP president also said it was too early to make any serious export expectations for the initial trade period.


“We’re still very conservative – we have a lot of expectations but we are being conservative. If that goes okay, and if the shipping services to China improves – in terms of more direct services and shorter transit times – then we can start growing in that market, but it’s still speculation,” Leon said.


Source: Fresh Fruit Portal

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