The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is currently in discussions with Colombia regarding mitigation measures for the safe entry of Colombian hass into the U.S., said Workabeba Yigzaw, an APHIS spokeswoman.
The Colombia Agricultural Institute’s assistant plant protection manager, Carlos Alberto Soto, predicted that the U.S. and Colombia will sign an agreement in the next few months, according to a story on the website larepublica.co.
But Emiliano Escobedo, executive director of the Irvine, Calif.-based Hass Avocado Board, said it was too early to tell.
“Historically, (the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service) has taken its time to assess pest conditions in producing countries, the risk of those pests entering the country and their impact on U.S. agriculture,” Escobedo said.
Colombia may have a leg up because of the free trade agreement it signed with the U.S. in 2006, Escobedo said, but it’s no guarantee.
“There are also many other factors and variables that will impact those decisions, including the priorities of the current and future administrations,” he said.
Colombia grows about 23,475 acres of hass avocados, according to the larepublica.co story.