The US Department of Agriculture’s Animal & Plant health Inspection Service (APHIS) has proposed changing import regulations to allow fresh New Zealand persimmons into the country.
APHIS published its pest risk assessment on New Zealand persimmons in April 2015 and is inviting reviews and comments from key stakeholders until 25 October 2016.
APHIS has proposed allowing fresh persimmons into the US in commercial consignments only, with orchards and packhouses to be registered by the National Plant Protection Organisation of New Zealand and meet pest control requirements including phytosanitary certificates.
The New Zealand persimmon industry has been pursuing access to the US since it put its first case to the USDA in 2002, with this next step a positive move forward to exporters.
"First Fresh has been exporting lemons to the US for many years and the importers that we work with are very interested in New Zealand persimmons but not having access has kept negotiations at an informal level," First Fresh's Brian Pepper told Fruitnet.
New Zealand exports around 68 per cent of its crop, which reached an estimated 320,100 4kg-trays during the 2016 season, according to leading New Zealand exporter First Fresh, which markets around 50 per cent of the New Zealand crop.