26.09.2020, 13:53

Quarantine stepped up for fruit exports to US

Quarantine stepped up for fruit exports to US
US expert Timothy Westbrook (L) and plant quarantine officials inspect dragon fruits to be exported to the US market.

NDO/VNA – Timothy Westbrook, an expert from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), has completed his COVID-19 quarantine period and began his task at the HCM City-based Son Son irradiation centre.

The expert arrived in Vietnam on September 2 to continue monitoring the treatment of fruit destined for his country, which recently underwent a hiatus due to COVID-19.

Speaking at a press conference on September 25 Westbrook said the US is now a crucial importer of Vietnam’s agricultural products.

Six Vietnamese fruits have been licensed to enter the market.

Facing difficulties from the coronavirus outbreak, the US recalled many of its staff in March, including those at the APHIS, in Vietnam. APHIS employees, however, are in charge of monitoring the handling of fruit at the Son Son irradiation centre – the only Vietnamese facility of this kind recognised by APHIS.

While waiting for US plant quarantine experts, the Plant Protection Department worked with the US Embassy in Vietnam, asking it to send a staff member to monitor fruit irradiation to maintain exports.

Data shows that Vietnam shipped over 6000 tonnes of fruit to the US in 2019 and more than 3000 tonnes in the first half of 2020 up slightly against the same period last year.