USDA approves Peruvian figs, pomegranates

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has given the green light for imports of Peruvian pomegranates and figs.

Both crops may be exported to the U.S. if they ship in commercial consignments, and are subjected to measures to mitigate the spread of plant pests, according to Aug. 9 rulings from the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

The actions allowing Peruvian pomegranates and figs go into effect Aug. 10.

Following pest risk assessments in which the USDA recommended the proposed rules allowing imports become final, public comment periods for both pomegranates and figs began March 14.

Pest mitigation protocols for both Peruvian pomegranates and figs will include irradiation, inspections and a phytosanitary certificate from Peru's national plant protection organization.

Officials from APHIS and its Peruvian equivalent, the National Service of Agrarian Health, met in Washington D.C. to discuss the topic. After that meeting, in June, Peru's Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation announced that figs and pomegranates had gotten the green light for export to the U.S.

At that time, though, APHIS said the agency hadn't finalized a work plan for the agreement, and no notice announcing the market opening was released.

Annual Peruvian pomegranate exports to the U.S. could be between 10,000 and 20,000 tons worth $15 million to $30 million, according to the Peruvian government.

Fig exports should exceed 5,000 tons, worth more than $15 million.