July 9, 2013 will be remembered as a day of important victories for two teams in Uruguay: the Under-20 Football squad that beat Iraq to advance to the World Cup Finals, and the 15,000 Uruguay families who depend on citrus farming for their livelihood.
Twenty years of negotiations between Uruguay and the US ended Tuesday with word that the US market will re-open to Uruguay citrus producers on August 9, a policy shift which will allow Uruguay to export US$20 million worth of citrus to the United States annually.
Uruguay currently produces 300,000 tons of citrus per year on 40,000 acres of farmland, the majority of which is located in the northern Departments of Salto and Paysandu. The country exports 40% of its citrus production to markets like the EU where sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) standards are very high.
Considering that US standards are even higher, Uruguay is achieving a level of citrus quality control on par with what the country has achieved in the arena of beef production and global exports to countries like China, Russia, the Netherlands and now South Korea. Regionally, Uruguay can claim “scoreboard” considering neither Argentina nor Brazil exports citrus to the US.
For more information about the new policy implications and challenges for Uruguay citrus growers going forward, Espectador has an in-depth Q&A with Salto citrus producer Jorge Caputto. (Full Story in Spanish)
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