The annual bilateral meeting between the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Servicio Nacional de Sanidad, Inocuidad y Calidad Agroalimentaria (SENASICA) took place this year in Mexico City on March 28 and 29.
According to Alain Boucher, national manager of seed potato certification at CFIA, the meeting was positive, and Mexican officials indicated that they were pleased with the 2011-2012 export season.
Additionally, Mexico has agreed to consider Canada’s request to reduce the frequency of audits under the stipulation that a pilot program be considered for this growing season, to determine whether a reduction in audit frequency is viable. Mexico has agreed to provide funds for officials to visit a province in Canada in order to collect 40 to 60 samples from growers at harvest. Costs associated with sample testing will be covered by SENASICA—however, transportation costs for the samples will be covered by industry. The final audit phase, according to Boucher, will entail review of the collection of remaining samples, and export shipment verification in late October or early November.
Growers are encouraged to identify seed potato crops intended for export to Mexico as early as possible and inform staff at their local CFIA offices, in order to facilitate crop inspection by visiting Mexican officials.
According to Statistics Canada, agri-food exports from Mexico to Canada increased between 2010 and 2011 by 8.9 per cent, from USD 1.196 million to USD 1.303 million. For total volume of Canadian potato exports abroad, 2011 statistics place Mexico as Canada’s second-largest trading partner, after the United States.
*Information courtesy of CFIA.