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Producers in Panama request end to Dutch onion imports

Staff Writer |
Less than fifteen days after the president of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela, met with farmers and ranchers to analyze a list of demands that, among other things, rejected imports, a group of producers raised their voices again to express dissatisfaction with the situation that affects the national harvest.

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The producers of the Association of the Community of Producers of the Highlands (Acpta), sent a letter to Luis Benavides, the current interim administrator and national director of food import standards at the Panamanian Food Safety Authority (Aupsa), asking him to repeal the dispositions issued by the entity to import onion from the Netherlands.

Lorenzo Jimenez, the president of the Acpta, said they demand these dispositions be repealed because they favor the import of Dutch onions and increase the risks for the entry of quarantine pests into the country, which are a risk for plant and human health, and the country's economy.

"The Netherlands is a country affected by the Ditylenchus dpsaci pest, which is the quarantine pest that we growers treat and watch over so that it does not enter Panamanian territory," said Jimenez.

In August of 2017, the agronomist and phytosanitary expert, Francisco Dalanes, which was hired by the producers, carried out an investigation and discovered a pest present in the onions coming from the Netherlands.

Dalanes warned through local media about the threat posed by pests to Panama's production, health, and economy, as they can also affect the production of strawberries, rice, and other products.

"Panama is exposed to the introduction, establishment, and dispersion of this pest. We request imports of fresh onions for human consumption originating in the Netherlands be stopped," he said.

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