- Producers require training to learn about the advantages of quality standards
- Farms and packing plants must work together to obtain the certificate of origin
A report by the Inter-American Development Bank reveals the results of an initiative carried out in Ecuador to develop quality control mechanisms for the mango crop. It also reports on the development of the country brand called Ecuador Calidad de Origen (Ecuador Quality of Origin) as a means to improve access to the U.S. and European markets.
The Ecuadorian mango stands out for its excellent quality and delicious flavor. It is mainly consumed as fresh fruit but can also be used to prepare marmalade, jam, pulp, concentrate and dices, with great nutritional quality.
Agronomist Leyla Solorzano Salazar, author of an Inter-American Bank (IDB) report on the production and quality of mangos in Ecuador, describes this country’s experience in implementing a management plan for Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). The initiative included the development of an integral plan for crop management and plant health checks in connection with fresh mango production and exports from Ecuador to the United States (U.S.), the European Union (E.U.) and other destination markets.
Another objective consisted of designing and implementing quality certification for this fruit called “Ecuador Calidad de Origen” (Ecuador Quality of Origin). The report reveals that awareness workshops and on-the-farm training on the advantages of certification received large participation from small producers.
Over 250 producers, field technicians and packing plant workers were trained on implementing GAP and GMP programs. The project also included the selection and accreditation of certification authorities meeting “Ecuador Calidad de Origen” protocol certification requirements, essential for brand credibility and access to demanding markets.
Solorzano Salazar reveals that to enter the U.S. market, Ecuadorian mangos are subject to a hot water treatment. Another restrictive element is that mangos whose weight exceeds 650 grams are not eligible for export. Additionally, the crop must go through fruit fly check and monitoring. These phytosanitary controls are carried out at the plantations in accordance with the requirements of the work plan for controlling this pest executed between Ecuador and the United States.
To deliver this crop to other important markets such as Mexico, Chile and New Zealand, there are protocols similar to those of the U.S., based on mutual trust agreements among phytosanitary authorities. Canada and the E.U. are the exception, where there are no phytosanitary restrictions for exporting mangos of Ecuadorian origin.
A suggestion provided for achieving greater participation in the “Ecuador Calidad de Origen” standard was to improve the interaction between farms and packing plants. These two entities must coordinate their activities by working as a team, since both GAP and GMP programs and phytosanitary controls must comply with the standards along the production chain.
In contrast to other crops, mango farms do not have their own packing plants, affirms Solorzano Salazar. Therefore, if the packing plant is not involved in the process it will be very difficult for farms to obtain certification.
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