Categorized | Agriculture

Farming with Love: USDA avocado rule a good first step

Ken Love | Special to Hawaii 24/7

A new USDA rule and approval allowing Hawaiian-grown Sharwil avocados to be shipped to a 32 mainland states between November and March is a first step in the right direction.

Although there are a number of caveats that will have to be met before the fruit can be shipped, such as an active fruit fly abatement program, field sanitation, inspections and a screened in packing shed, the new rule is the culmination of a long battle.

It was October 1908 when the first Hawaiian avocados were banned from being shipped to the mainland. The rule was lifted briefly in 1992, but that test failed for a number of reasons and it took the another 21 years to work out details enabling growers to ship.

Although it will take time to develop the markets, build acceptable packing sheds and go through the inspection process, the potential to help Sharwil growers across the state to become more sustainable.

It is essential that the USDA rules are followed and that only perfect fruit are shipped.

As a grower, I view this ruling as the first step in being able to a ship all avocado varieties to the U.S. and hopefully Japan.

If we can show that we can grow fruit that is free of fruit flies in the eyes of the government, officials will eventually have to open other markets for other exotic tropical fruits.

For the complete USDA final rule, visit: s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspec…

(Ken Love is a Kona resident and specialist in tropical fruit horticulture and market development. Love works on sustainability issues for Hawaii farmers, value-added product development and farmer-chef relations. Contact Love at kenlove@kona.net)

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