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USDA’s APHIS impact report showcases achievements

Report reveals significant achievements in pest protection, agricultural export facilitation and biosecurity.

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has released its 2023 Impact Report, highlighting significant achievements in pest detection, surveillance, and mitigation, alongside efforts to bolster U.S. agricultural exports and biosecurity.

Key Highlights:

  1. Pest protection and surveillance:

    • Funding and projects: Allocated over $70 million to support 382 projects under the Plant Protection Act’s Section 7721 program.
    • Inspections: Cleared 3.31 billion pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables from 20 countries and 2.96 billion pounds of avocados from Mexico. Prevented the entry of 2,176 quarantine-significant pests at U.S. plant inspection stations.
    • Pest identification: Identified 92,000 pests found during inspections and took quick action to prevent those of concern from entering the U.S.
  2. Import and export facilitation:

    • Permits and certificates: Issued 28,155 import permits and over 591,000 Federal phytosanitary certificates, aiding the export of U.S. plants and products to approximately 200 trading partners.
    • Market expansion: Conducted technical negotiations to open, maintain, and expand export markets, adding approximately $459.3 million in value by facilitating the release of held shipments.
  3. Biosecurity and disease management:

    • ASF response: Continued efforts to manage African swine fever in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, including training and quarantine measures.
    • Avian influenza: Performed over 1.4 million tests on commercial poultry flocks to protect the U.S. poultry industry, valued at $77 billion.
  4. Technological advancements:

    • Biotechnology: Issued 15 Regulatory Status Review decisions for genetically engineered plants, ensuring they are safe to grow and reducing processing times by 37%.
  5. International collaboration:

    • Trade and regulatory processes: Hosted 10 foreign engagements related to agricultural trade and U.S. regulatory processes, attended by 237 officials from several countries including Canada, Japan, and Mexico.
    • Sterile insect programs: Produced 1 billion sterile Mediterranean fruit flies and 6 billion sterile Mexican fruit flies weekly to support pest control efforts in North America.

 As APHIS continues to innovate and implement robust pest management and biosecurity measures, the U.S. agricultural sector is expected to see sustained improvements in both productivity and market access, reinforcing its position as a global leader in agricultural health and safety.

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