Group asks USDA for more shipments to Canada

07/17/2012 08:20:00 AM
Coral Beach

Importers who bring Peruvian asparagus to North America want permission to double the number of their weekly shipments to Canada.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s regulations allow the importers to ship Peruvian asparagus through the U.S. to Canada once a week, regardless of the size of the shipment. The importers want that increased to two shipments per week.

The Miami-based Peruvian Asparagus Importers Association began working for the increase about four months ago, said Walter Yager, the association’s East Coast chairman and chief executive officer of Alpine Fresh, Doral, Fla.

“Most of our customers want deliveries twice a week,” Yager said. “It just makes sense for fresh commodities.”

Yager said up to 15% of the asparagus the association members import to North America goes to Canada.

Priscilla Lleras, the association’s coordinator in Miami, said the association has been working with USDA staff at in Miami and Washington, D.C. She said the association has formally requested the change and provided information USDA officials requested.

As of mid-July, the Pimporters association was still awaiting a decision from the USDA.

Officials at USDA confirmed July 9 they have received the request and expect to respond soon.

Lleras said in addition to providing more convenient service to current retail and wholesale customers in Canada, increasing shipments to twice a week would help the association members increase market penetration.

Some customers who have not opted for Peruvian asparagus will likely be more interested if they knew regular shipments twice weekly would be available.



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