WITH shipments of pineapple expected to increase in the coming months, it is important to fully understand the procedures involved in order to export.
Last week, through this column we introduced the system now put in place by the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji (BAF) to ensure our pineapples meet the standards required by the biosecurity establishment in New Zealand.
Last week through this article we introduced the Pineapple Export Pathway with which all growers must adhere to in order to meet the standards to export.
This week we will dwell more on these guidelines. Listed below are the guidelines set out by the BAF as of March 2012.
Growers who intend to produce "Ripley Queen", "Smooth Cayenne" and "Viamama" pineapples for export to New Zealand will sign a declaration. To this effect, the Department of Agriculture extension officers will inspect the site and once the DOA is satisfied that the farm has met all the BQA requirements, it will then recommend to the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji to register the growers as well as the sites where pineapples are grown for export to New Zealand.
Field Control Measures
Growers will ensure that fruits of pineapple and other fruit fly hosts that are ripe, over-ripe (not needed for use), that has fallen on the ground or discarded during harvesting is removed from the registered site and surrounding area and disposed off either by burying or burning.
Fiji DOA Extension should ensure good agricultural practices are adhered to and a spray diary maintained for all chemicals used. Fields should be clean at all times (weed free and well maintained).
Growers will follow good agriculture practices recommended by DOA Extension who will regularly visit the pineapple farms to check compliance and ensure that the only three approved varieties are being grown.
Growers will only harvest pineapples at mature green stage for export to New Zealand from the registered sites where plants have been sprayed (spray diary) and field agronomic/sanitation procedures implemented.
Each exporter of pineapples to New Zealand must have a packhouse that is registered annually and issued with a valid export licence and number.
Records of all export licences will be held and maintained by exporter, officer-in- charge of divisional BAF offices and BAF head office.
The unique exporter packhouse registration number and the date of packing will be stamped on all packages packed by that packhouse for export to New Zealand.
The variety of pineapple will also be indicated on all the export cartons. This will be done by the exporter.
Each packhouse will maintain daily records and invoices for purchasing from registered growers who have supplied pineapples for export.
Packhouse staff will inspect all fruits (100 per cent) on a grower line basis for the presence of fruit fly eggs, larvae and pupae (and the symptoms of such presence).
Fruits showing symptoms of bruising, soft spots, skin punctures, stings, infestation/infection by other quarantine pests and decay will be rejected.
An important element of this procedure is documentation or precise record keeping, such records BAF must have access to in order to declare the fruits have gone through the procedure and is up to export standard.
These records must include; grower, site and unique number identification, amount/exact quantity/variety of pineapples received on a grower line, basis, date of receiving the pineapple, date of grading, quantity of fruits rejected and reason(s) and quantity of pineapple approved for export.
On Farm Production
Growers producing pineapples for export to New Zealand will comply with all field control and on-farm production measures recommended by Fiji DOA.
Packhouses will not accept pineapples for export to New Zealand from any grower(s) who has not been registered. Exporters should advise BAF on the grower who supplies the pineapple on that particular day, if it detects suspicious, infested pineapples or varieties of pineapple other than "Ripely Queen", "Smooth Cayenne" and "Viamama" during packing. Fiji DOA will visit each of these growers to ensure appropriate field control measures are being maintained.
A Phytosanitary Certificate will be issued by BAF covering each shipment of pineapple cleared for export to New Zealand only if BAF is satisfied that the pre - export activities have been undertaken.
What FEC offers?
What the Fiji Export Council can offer to assist farmers who wish to undertake this procedure is to advise on a sound business plan set-up.
Remember, exporting is a procedure; there are things that must be set in stone before setting up the business.
FEC can also help direct you to other players in the industry who will be able to assist. While exporting has good returns, the challenge is maintaining your supply every shipment and ensuring they will continue to meet the standards required by the pineapple export pathway.
Source: Procedures for the export of pineapple to New Zealand, pineapple export pathway - BAF, March 2012
* This is a contribution from the Fiji Exports Council.