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Japan tolerates new method of monitoring Tuta absoluta

Tomato growers could not export to Japan for some time. In early 2022, it was announced by the Quality Control Bureau that ''experience and further investigation have shown that tomato growers using pheromone confusion in addition to mandatory monitoring with pheromone traps do not meet the conditions set by Japan''. Now, this monitoring type has been tolerated.

The Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) published a new overview of companies and inspection locations permitted to export fruit vegetables to Japan. These are strawberry, pepper and two hot pepper growers. Tomato is also back from not really gone, enquiries with the NVWA reveal. One tomato company currently has an export licence.

Tomato back
A list was also published on 16 October. Compared to that list, two locations of a pepper grower disappeared. Tomato grower Twinburg, however, was already on that list.

Upon enquiry, the NVWA informed that tomatoes had been "exported to Japan in recent months". Export was also possible in 2022 and 2023, 'based on temporary agreements' between NVWA, the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality and the Japanese government.

What the situation will be like in 2024, the NVWA 'cannot predict at the moment.' However, the NVWA does reveal that it is in talks with Japan about monitoring possibilities. "A new monitoring method has been tested. Japan has not yet approved it, but is tolerating it. To get more certainty for Dutch exporters, talks are being held with Japan to get the new monitoring method approved."

Only when that process is completed does the NVWA say it will be able to say anything substantive about it. Also at the time of KCB's announcement, consultations were already underway.

View the lis of growers as published on 30 October 2023 here.

Phytosanitary requirements
The corresponding export requirements were also published this summer. A general rule is that products must be free of plant parasitic insects and leaf debris. For strawberries and Capsicum, the rule is practically free of Thrips and free of other plant-parasitic insects. Also, companies wishing to export to Japan must participate in the MED FLY protocol.

Apart from the above requirements, which mean that not all acreage is 'export-ready' in the case of peppers, high air freight costs also hampered exports. Meanwhile, after difficult corona years, things do seem to have normalised a bit more.

Companies can be admitted after successful participation in the 'Recognition Export Vegetables Japan'. Application for the recognition scheme can be done 'all year round' in the case of Japan. For China only, an application must be in the year before export.

Flemish export
Flanders is also looking at exports to Japan of tomatoes, among others. Jan Engelen of Coƶperatie Hoogstraten said late last year after a trade mission: "We have three main groups of course; strawberries, tomatoes and peppers. All three are not yet allowed to export to Japan. However, a dossier has been started to create an opening for the export of Flemish tomatoes to Japan. This is also going through the FAVV and MAFF, but is a long-term project. For Conference pears this took time and it will be no different for tomatoes. A mission like this does then help push the right buttons."

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