REF# 2021 - 15
Yesterday, Ambassador Popp joined Vice Minister of Energy and Mines Manuel Arita, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Atzum Arévalo, and Vice Minister of Rural Economic Development José Miguel Duro to tour the U.S.-supported MOSCAMED facility at El Pino. While at El Pino facility, they learned about the history of MOSCAMED, including collaboration with the International Atomic Energy Agency; toured the sterile Mediterranean fruit fly (Medfly) production facility; and observed the packaging of sterile Medfly for shipment to the U.S. and release in Guatemala. U.S. support for MOSCAMED means exports and jobs: In the past two years, the US Government has provided $47 million in support activities to address the risk from Medfly, a significant pest of agriculture, through MOSCAMED activities in Guatemala and assistance to Mexico. This includes $18.6 million from the U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) in 2021. MOSCAMED employs 1,400 Guatemalans and oversees activities to manage Medfly in the region. Established in 2001, the only internationally recognized Medfly free area in Guatemala is located in northern Petén. Thanks to the efforts by MOSCAMED to continually monitor and eliminate Medfly from this area, Guatemala is able to maintain year-round papaya exports. The 1,000 hectares for papaya production directly employs 4,000 Guatemalans. In 2020, there were 2,146 containers shipped to the U.S. market with an estimated value of $38.6 million. APHIS funds MOSCAMED activities in Petén that are necessary for Guatemala to maintain this status and its access to export markets. In 2021, APHIS is providing $450,000.