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Nicaragua to start exporting dragon fruit

Nicaragua will soon become the first Central American country to start exporting pitahaya or dragon fruit to the United States, thanks to an agreement signed this week between the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Nicaragua’s Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAGFOR, for its acronym in Spanish).

Before Nicaragua can start exporting the fruit to the U.S. market, the USDA and Nicaraguan authorities need to elaborate a best-agricultural practices program to train pitahaya producers how to pack the fruit to meet export requirements and how to treat the crop for fruit flies.

At a ceremony on Monday, U.S. Ambassador Phyllis Powers said that the implementation of the pitahaya-export program is one of the new commercial opportunities provided by the U.S.-Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA).

Nicaragua is the largest producer of pitahaya in Central America, growing more than 6,160 tons of the fruit each year, according to government statistics. The U.S. estimates that once the pitahaya-export program is fully operational, Nicaraguan producers will be able to export 20 percent of their annual harvest to the United States.

Nicaragua recently received a U.S. trade mission with the objective of exploring the country’s agribusiness potential and the facilities offered by the country to do business. A total of six major U.S. companies sat down with local producers during 54 business meetings, which lead to potential purchase orders of fresh vegetables and fruits of over US$3 million.

by S. C.
14 december 2012, World News > America

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