Thailand kickstarts pomelo exports to the United States
The first lot of pomelos to be exported to the United States left Thailand for Washington DC on Monday.
The fruit, weighing 864 kilograms and packed in 72 boxes, was separated into four species – Thong Dee, Khao Yai, Khao Namphueng and Khao Tang Kwa.
Thailand exports pomelos to more than 30 countries, with the biggest markets being China and Malaysia. Last year, it exported more than a million tonnes of the fruit, worth over 45 million baht.
However, this is the first time that pomelo is joining the list of fruits that Thailand is permitted to ship to the US.
The others are mango, lychee, longan, pineapple, mangosteen, dragon fruit and rambutan.
Deputy Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Mananya Thaiset said the Department of Agriculture was behind negotiations to add pomelo to the list of permissible fruits.
Under the new deal, pomelo exporters must be registered with the department and their product needs to undergo irradiation to reduce and eliminate microorganisms and insects. The plantations must also be certified under the United States’ GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) standards, while packaging manufacturers must be certified under the GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) standards.
Rapeepat Chantarasriwong, the Department of Agriculture director-general, said the pomelos should hit the shelves in time for the July 4 Independence Day celebrations. He added that this shipment will also mark 190 years of Thai-US bilateral relations.
He said the department is also looking into exporting to the US via sea routes, as that would reduce costs and boost the volume of shipments.