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China to allow Chilean prunes in “natural condition”

While Chile has been selling prunes to the Chinese market since 2010 only tenderized fruit has been allowed until now.

According to the Chile Prunes Association, Chinese authorities have finally authorized imports of prunes that have been dried under “natural conditions”.

“Currently, 90% of prunes imported by China from the rest of the world are of this ‘natural condition’ type, which is why this new understanding between AQSIQ and SAG opens an important market for this product, which makes us very content with the new possibility of exports opened in that country,” says Chilean Agriculture Minister Carlos Furche.

Demand for health products is on the rise in China, bringing with it demand for dried fruits. Chinese consumers have historically eaten local dried ‘Wumei’ prunes, but in recent years there have been imports of the Western-style prunes Chile and other countries produce which are called ‘Ximei’ in the Asian nation.

“Our country, once again, is opening international markets with strong arguments for quality, seriousness and reliability. This news allows us to substantially increase our export potential in China,” said Chile Prunes president Pedro Pablo Diaz.

“Chile has an FTA which allows us to have a 0% tariff, and just this year California will produce 40% of its normal production, so availability of exports will be much lower and consequently, there will be a greater opportunity for Chile,” added Chile Prunes executive director Andrés Rodríguez.

Photo: www.shutterstock.com

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FreshFruitPortal.com

Obama plan may allow millions of immigrants to stay and work in U.S.

Obama plan may allow millions of immigrants to stay and work in U.S.

President Obama is expected to announce, as early as next week, a broad overhaul of the nation’s immigration enforcement system that will protect up to five million unauthorized immigrants from the threat of deportation and provide many of them with work permits, according to administration officials who have direct knowledge of the plan.

Mr. Obama intends to order changes that will significantly refocus the activities of the government’s 12,000 immigration agents. One key piece of the order, officials said, will allow many parents of children who are American citizens or legal residents to obtain legal work documents and no longer worry about being discovered, separated from their families and sent away

That part of Mr. Obama’s plan alone could affect as many as 3.3 million people who have been living in the United States illegally for at least five years, according to an analysis by the Migration Policy Institute, an immigration research organization in Washington. But the White House is also considering a stricter policy that would limit the benefits to people who have lived in the country for at least 10 years, or about 2.5 million people.

Extending protections to more undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children, and to their parents, could affect an additional one million or more if they are included in the final plan that the president announces. White House officials are also still debating whether to include protections for farm workers who have entered the country illegally but have been employed for years in the agriculture industry, a move that could affect hundreds of thousands of people.

Mr. Obama’s actions will also expand opportunities for legal immigrants who have high-tech skills, shift extra security resources to the nation’s southern border, revamp a controversial immigration enforcement program called Secure Communities, and provide clearer guidance to the agencies that enforce immigration laws about who should be a low priority for deportation, especially those with strong family ties and no serious criminal history.

A new memorandum, which will direct the actions of enforcement and border agents and immigration judges, will make clear that deportations should still proceed for convicted criminals, foreigners who pose national security risks and recent border crossers, officials said.

White House officials declined to comment publicly before a formal announcement by Mr. Obama, who will return from an eight-day trip to Asia on Sunday. Administration officials said details about the package of executive actions were still being finished and could change. An announcement could be pushed off until next month but will not be delayed to next year, officials said.

Please click here to read the full article from the NY Times.

Publication date: 11/14/2014


FreshPlaza.com

House panel votes to allow waivers from new school lunch standards

WASHINGTON — New school lunch regulations implemented during the 2012-13 school year that doubled the amount of fruits and vegetables served every day may be in jeopardy as a House subcommittee voted May 20 to allow schools to apply for waivers from the new requirements.

Attached to the fiscal 2015 spending bill for the U.S. Department of Agriculture is a provision that would grant the Secretary of Agriculture authority to establish a waiver process and allow schools demonstrating an economic hardship to pass on complying with certain nutrition regulations during the 2014-15 school year.

The controversial provision cleared the first hurdle during subcommittee markup and is scheduled for a full committee vote next week. Similar language does not appear in the Senate version.

“I continually hear from my schools in Alabama about the challenges and costs they are facing and their desperation for flexibility and relief so they can operate a program serving healthy foods the kids will eat,” said Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL), chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee with jurisdiction over USDA’s budget, who supports the waivers.

“If your schools are successfully implementing the nutrition standards and operating in the black, they would not qualify for or need a waiver,” Aderholt said at the session. “However, for schools suffering economic hardship and needing more time to implement and adjust to the new standards, this waiver gives them that flexibility schools are asking us to provide.”

The legislative fix was met with fierce opposition from Reps. Sam Farr (D-CA) and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) during the subcommittee markup.

Farr called the change in nutrition standards “hard to swallow,” and pointed out that schools could stop serving added fruits and vegetables and keep the federal money. More than 90 percent of schools are having no trouble meeting the new nutrition standards and USDA has pledged to work with the other schools, he said.

“Members of the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee who voted to roll back school meal nutrition standards that benefit the health of millions of American children should be embarrassed,” Tom Stenzel, president and chief executive officer of the United Fresh Produce Association, said in a statement issued after the vote.

USDA also wasted no time reacting to the latest vote on Capitol Hill. Soon after the subcommittee action, USDA announced it would give schools that demonstrate significant challenges in serving whole-grain rich pastas the option to continue serving traditional enriched pasta for up to two more years.

USDA also issued a fact sheet and cited a Harvard study that concluded kids are now eating 16 percent more vegetables and 23 percent more fruit at lunch under the updated standards.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

House panel votes to allow waivers from new school lunch standards

WASHINGTON — New school lunch regulations implemented during the 2012-13 school year that doubled the amount of fruits and vegetables served every day may be in jeopardy as a House subcommittee voted May 20 to allow schools to apply for waivers from the new requirements.

Attached to the fiscal 2015 spending bill for the U.S. Department of Agriculture is a provision that would grant the Secretary of Agriculture authority to establish a waiver process and allow schools demonstrating an economic hardship to pass on complying with certain nutrition regulations during the 2014-15 school year.

The controversial provision cleared the first hurdle during subcommittee markup and is scheduled for a full committee vote next week. Similar language does not appear in the Senate version.

“I continually hear from my schools in Alabama about the challenges and costs they are facing and their desperation for flexibility and relief so they can operate a program serving healthy foods the kids will eat,” said Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL), chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee with jurisdiction over USDA’s budget, who supports the waivers.

“If your schools are successfully implementing the nutrition standards and operating in the black, they would not qualify for or need a waiver,” Aderholt said at the session. “However, for schools suffering economic hardship and needing more time to implement and adjust to the new standards, this waiver gives them that flexibility schools are asking us to provide.”

The legislative fix was met with fierce opposition from Reps. Sam Farr (D-CA) and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) during the subcommittee markup.

Farr called the change in nutrition standards “hard to swallow,” and pointed out that schools could stop serving added fruits and vegetables and keep the federal money. More than 90 percent of schools are having no trouble meeting the new nutrition standards and USDA has pledged to work with the other schools, he said.

“Members of the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee who voted to roll back school meal nutrition standards that benefit the health of millions of American children should be embarrassed,” Tom Stenzel, president and chief executive officer of the United Fresh Produce Association, said in a statement issued after the vote.

USDA also wasted no time reacting to the latest vote on Capitol Hill. Soon after the subcommittee action, USDA announced it would give schools that demonstrate significant challenges in serving whole-grain rich pastas the option to continue serving traditional enriched pasta for up to two more years.

USDA also issued a fact sheet and cited a Harvard study that concluded kids are now eating 16 percent more vegetables and 23 percent more fruit at lunch under the updated standards.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Sensors allow for efficient irrigation, more control over plant growth

Sep. 16, 2013 — As water use and runoff regulations become more stringent and concerns about dwindling water supplies become more of an issue, finding ways to increase the efficiency of water use for horticultural operations is crucial. A new study contains answers that can help horticultural growers address regulatory and cost concerns. Amanda Bayer, lead author of the research study, explained that most often horticultural best management practices (BMPs) are used to conserve water, but that BMPs do not account for water requirements of plants. “Soil moisture sensors can be used along with an automated irrigation system to irrigate when substrate volumetric water content drops below a set threshold, allowing for precise irrigation control and improved water conservation compared with traditional irrigation practices,” Bayer said. Bayer and colleagues Imran Mahbub, Matthew Chappell, John Ruter, and Marc van Iersel from the Department of Horticulture at the University of Georgia published their research findings in the August 2013 issue of HortScience.

“We designed a project to quantify the growth of Hibiscus acetosella ‘Panama Red’ in response to various soil water content thresholds,” explained Bayer. The team performed the experiments in a greenhouse and on outdoor nursery pads using soil moisture sensors to maintain soil water content above specific thresholds. Greenhouse studies were conducted at the University of Georgia in Athens, while the nursery studies took place at the University of Georgia Horticulture Farm in Watkinsville and at the University of Georgia Tifton Campus. Bayer explained that the studies were conducted in two different U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones (Tifton 8b, Watkinsville 8a) to compare plant responses under different environmental conditions.

“We found that plant growth increased with increasing water content threshold in both greenhouse and nursery settings,” the authors said. The experimental results revealed that the effect of substrate volumetric water content threshold on dry weight, plant height, and compactness shows the potential for commercial nurseries to utilize sensor-controlled irrigation systems to control plant growth, and potentially to reduce the need for pruning. Bayer added that, along with reduced water use and growth control, more efficient soil moisture sensor-controlled irrigation could greatly reduce leaching, allowing for reductions in fertilizer applications.

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The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Horticultural Science, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.


Journal Reference:

  1. Amanda Bayer, Imran Mahbub, Matthew Chappell, John Ruter and Marc W. Van Iersel. Water Use and Growth of Hibiscus acetosella ‘Panama Red’ Grown with a Soil Moisture Sensor-controlled Irrigation System. HortScience, August 2013

Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.

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