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Hawaii avocados cleared for export after 21-year ban

Published On: Sep 12 2013 09:06:12 AM HST
Sharwil Avocados

Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers

HONOLULU -

Locally-grown avocadoes could soon go national.

Hawaii farmers say its a step in the right direction that has incredible potential for the future of farming.

Since 1992 avocado growers haven't been able to ship the crop because of a ban implemented by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Inspectors found an oriental fruit fly on an avocado shipment from Hawaii.

Since then farmers could only sell within the state.

But Starting November 1st, The U.S.D.A. will  allow Hawaii growers to ship Sharwil avocados to 32 states on the mainland, between November and March.

The Hawaii Department of Agriculture says the ban has been lifted because of an increase in knowledge of avocados.

"Researchers went back and looked at how viable a host avocado, specifically Sharwil avocados, are for oriental fruit fly and found that it really required really special circumstances for it to use avocado as a host," said Darcy Oishi of the Hawaii Dept. Of Agriculture.

But farmers say the ban was imposed because of political reasons.

"Once mainland folks get a taste of Kahaluu, Sharwil and other avocados here, they'll find they're so far superior to what's currently on the market there," said Ken Love of Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers. "I think they're afraid of losing market share over time."

 Farms will have to complete certain requirements to be able to ship Sharwil avocado to the mainland, including registering with the U.S.D.A., setting up fruit fly traps and having inspections.

The Hawaii Avocado Association says growers mostly on the Big Island and Maui produce about 1 million pounds of avocado every year.

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