Taiwan and the US on Thursday signed an operational work plan for delivering guavas to the US, while Taiwanese orchards supplying the fruit are required to be officially registered and to fulfill quarantine standards, the Council of Agriculture said yesterday.

The agreement was signed during the annual Taiwan-US meeting for determining quarantine techniques and standards for agricultural products, after the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Oct. 17 authorized the importation of fresh guavas from Taiwan to the continental US.

With this approval, Taiwan becomes the first Asian country allowed to export guavas to the US, the council’s Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine said.

Bureau Deputy Director-General Chou Hui-chuan (鄒慧娟) led a delegation to the meeting held at the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service in Maryland, the bureau’s plant quarantine division deputy chief Weng Yi-tzu (翁壹姿) said.

According to the plan, Taiwanese orchards supplying guavas should be certified and registered by the council, and they are required to place double-fold bags over guava fruits three weeks after they bloom, the bureau said.

The bureau is required to check the guava farms 30 days before harvest and ensure that the examination procedure is documented and can be retroactively tracked, it said.

The US agency also lists maximum allowable residue of pesticides, packaging and delivery requirements, and quarantine standards preventing fruit flies, it said.

The work plan did not impose any limit on the amount of guavas that could be imported, and that the amount imported would depend on demand, Weng said.

Taiwan’s fresh guavas have been sold to China, Singapore, Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates, Canada and other regions, she added.

The production of Taiwan’s guavas last year totaled 7,441 hectares and 176,303 tonnes, with Kaohsiung, Changhua County and Tainan being the top three production areas, council data showed.