An effort by the country to clear its name with European plant disease specialists suffered a setback this week when a delegation headed to Brussels could not take off Monday due to volcano ash at Juan Santamaría airport.
The Ministerio de Comercio Exterior has been deeply engaged with the Servicio Fitosanitario del Estado with research to show that ornamental plants coming from Costa Rica are not infected with the Xylella fastidiosa which can be highly damaging to plants like grape vines.
The country exports about $7 million in ornamental plants to the European Union each year and the industry employes about 500 persons, said the ministry.
The European Union closed the market to Costa Rica’s phoenix palm more than a year ago, and officials have conducted extensive research into the plant pest problem. The ministry said that the type of bacteria here is different from that in Europe and that there have been extensive efforts to make sure plant production operations are free of the disease.