The US ambassador to Chile, Carol Perez, paid a visit to the Plant Health Inspection Site at Lo Herrera and to the Dole Chile SA company in Codegua. She wanted to see for herself the phytosanitary inspection sites and the selection and packaging processes used to export Chilean fruits.
The Ambassador and her delegation visited the SAG / USDA-APHIS / ASOEX phytosanitary inspection site at Lo Herrera first. There, they were received by the President of the Association of Fruit Exporters of Chile AG (ASOEX), Ronald Bown, the General Manager of ASOEX, Miguel Canala-Echeverria, the Director of the Agriculture and Livestock Service (SAG) of the Metropolitan Region, Oscar Concha, the Head of the International Division of SAG, Veronica Echavarri, and different site officials.
On the occasion, the President of ASOEX made a presentation about the realities of the industry, the work done by ASOEX, and the Pre-shipment Program with the United States, under which the inspection sites operate. After the presentation, the delegation toured the facility and saw how the fruit was inspected before being sent to the US market.
During the presentation, Ronald Bown highlighted the importance of Chile as an exporter, as it is the main supplier of fresh quality and safe fruit in the Southern Hemisphere and the fifth biggest exporter of fruit worldwide. He said this demonstrated how hard the industry worked to improve production and export processes, and used technology and innovation to supply fruit with increasing quality and safety standards to different markets around the world.
“This visit is very important for us because it allows us to show the work we do here and because it allows us to strengthen the good relations we have with the United States, the Department of Agriculture, and the Agricultural and Livestock Service. In terms of volume, the United States continues to be the main destination of our fresh fruits. Last season, we exported more than 2.6 million tons to the world, more than 800,000 of which were destined for the US market. That’s why having these inspection sites, which allow us to inspect our fruit before sending it to the United States, is so important,” the President of ASOEX said.
“This is the first time that I’ve visited an inspection site. The work being done here is very impressive. The amount of recalls, which is very low as it doesn’t exceed 2 percent, is also very impressive. I like the collaboration between ASOEX, SAG and the USDA /APHIS,” the US Ambassador in Chile said.
“We value the collaboration and relationship we have built with the SAG and ASOEX. This is one of the most important inspection sites. It is located in a strategic area for Chilean fruit exports,” said Robert S. Johnson, Director of APHIS-USDA for Latin America.
It’s worth noting that Luis Fuentes, Director of Chile’s Pre-Shipment Program, Jose Cobo, Supervisor of the Pre-Shipment Program, and Anita Katial, US Agricultural Attaché, Sergio Gonzalez, a specialist of the fruit industry at the US Agricultural Attaché, Gabriela Arce, Head of Administration at the Lo Herrera Inspection Site, Fernando Pasha, ASOEX Coordinator of the Inspection Sites, and Pablo Reyes, manager of SAG exports of the Metropolitan Region also participated in the visit to the site.
After visiting the inspection site the delegation went to the premises of the Dole Chile SA company were they were received by the executives Francisco Chacon and Ivan Marambio, who presented the company and accompanied the visitors on a tour of the facility.
Pre-shipment Program and inspection sites
The Pre-Shipment Program, under which the Plant Health Inspection sites work, is a tripartite cooperative agreement signed in 1982 between the Fruit Exporters Association of Chile AG (ASOEX), the Agricultural and Livestock Service (SAG), and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA-APHIS).
The aim of the Pre-Shipment Program is for Chile to comply with the phytosanitary regulations established by the United States for imports of fresh produce. Chile has a permanent office of the USDA / APHIS, whose mission is to ensure compliance with the cooperative agreement and the implementation of the technical standards of the program, which are set out in a document called Operational Instructions of the Pre-shipment Program SAG/ USDA-APHIS/ ASOEX.
The Pre-Shipment Program Agreement between Chile and the United states was renewed with a signing ceremony in the offices of the US Embassy in Chile on Tuesday, December 13, 2016.
To date there are seven inspection sites in Chile, located in the IV, V, RM, VI, VII, and VIII Regions. ASOEX manages the sites at Coquimbo, Lo Herrera, Los Lirios, Teno, and Cabrero, while the SAG manages the and port sites the International Airport of Santiago and of Valparaiso. Each of these sites is under permanent supervision of USDA-APHIS officials.
The Plant Health Inspection Site of Cabrero is a new facility that will be officially inaugurated soon, even though it has been operating since early January 2017. ASOEX invited the US Ambassador to the inauguration.