Colombia will now be able to export fresh uchuvas, known in English as cape gooseberries, or alternatively, goldenberries with no quarantine restrictions after the Ambassador of Colombia to the United States Luis Carlos Villegas and U.S. Under Secretary of Agriculture Edward Avalos signed the Operative Work Plan (OWP) as honorary witnesses. The signing of the OWP represents the completion of a 12-year process, which began in 2003, when the United States authorized the export of the tangy uchuvas from Colombia with a series of restrictions designed to prevent the risk associated with the Mediterranean fruit fly.
Those restrictions increased the cost of uchuvas, a close relative to the tomatillo, its savory cousin already more familiar to Americans due to their ubiquitous use in Mexican cuisine and availability in most U.S. Supermarkets. The restrictions reduced the quality of the imported fruit, and hampered logistics by limiting entry to only two ports in the United States. As a result of the OWP, the uchuvas can now be exported to any port in the United States, without the need for cold quarantine treatment. It is estimated that the new measure represents a 40% reduction in the cost of exporting fruit to the U.S. market.
The Ministry of Trade, ProColombia, El Fondo Nacional de Fomento Hortofrutícola and the Embassy of Colombia in the United States have supported the implementation of the OWP by the ICA APHIS and ANALDEX, which will benefit the total production of uchuvas in the Colombian departments (states) of Cundinamarca and Boyacá, and will guarantee the jobs of more than 46,000 Colombians who work in the cultivation of this nutritious fruit. “The signing of this plan is another step in strengthening bilateral relations and realizing the benefits of the bilateral Free Trade Agreement,” said Ambassador Villegas. “Between 2013 and 2014, with quarantine restrictions, goldenberry exports from Colombia to the United States grew by 121%. With the signing of this agreement, we expect this growth to further multiply. Goldenberries represent the first of many Colombian agricultural products that will have access to the U.S. market in the coming years, such as the Hass avocado, peppers, melon, watermelon and mango, among others.”
Uchuvas photo credit: Loren Moss