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Canada relaxes phytosanitary requirement for Japanese apples

For Japanese apple growers, the Canadian door finally opened.

Canada has relaxed stringent requirements for imported apples, such as mandatory production methods and disinfection, as long as apple growers meet certain conditions, the Japanese agriculture ministry said on June 8.

Technically, Japanese growers can ship apples to Canada, but have not done so since 1998 due to Ottawa’s phytosanitary restrictions. Japan exported apples last in 1997 at merely 4 metric tons.

Since 2016, Japanese officials have been engaged in intense negotiations to get the requirements to be relaxed.

Currently, apples account for about 50 percent of Japan’s total fruit exports. The major destination is Taiwan, accounting for some 80 percent of Japanese apple exports.

Japanese apple production in January-April rose 47% to 5.6 billion yen (14,204 metric tons), compared with the same period a year ago.

That was a significant recovery, compared with 2017, which saw an 18% fall to 11 billion yen (28,724 metric tons) from the previous year.

Japanese apple growers hope to export more apples at a time when the domestic market has been shrinking.