Avocado ban still is controversial

The Costa Rica ban on Mexican hass avocados does not find universal support here.

México has brought the situation to the attention of the World Trade Organization after the Servicio Fitosanitario del Estado forbade the importation of the fruit.

A representative of the Cámara de Industria y Comercio Costa Rica-México expressed unhappiness at the situation during a visit to the  Comisión Permanente de Asuntos Agropecuarios Tuesday.

The representative, Yolanda Fernández, said that in the last 21 years while the two countries had a trade treaty, Costa Rica has never blocked a product.

The Servicio Fitosanitario del Estado has been criticized by those who see the import ban as more of a trade barrier that benefits Costa Rican growers.

The problem is avocado sunblotch which is caused by a viroid, a small piece of genetic material that can reduce production of the avocado trees.

As A.M. Costa Rica has reported, the viroid cannot be transmitted except through pollen or by physical contact to trees by diseased plant material. In the case of pollen, the viroids cannot be transmitted unless the infected avocado seed is propagated and the subsequent plant comes in contact with other trees.

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