American Shipper

Mexico restores trade in California wheat

Mexico restores trade in California wheat

   Mexico has taken delivery of its first shipments of California wheat after lifting a 10-year ban against the commodity for Karnal bunt.

   Mexico stopped wheat imports from the southwestern United States after the first detection of Karnal bunt in Arizona in 1996. Karnal bunt is a fungal disease of wheat, durum wheat and triticale, a hybrid of wheat and rye, spreading mostly through the movement of infected seed.

   In June 2005, the United States and Mexico agreed to recognize certain wheat-growing areas in California, Arizona, Texas and New Mexico free of Karnal bunt, with the exception of those areas the U.S. Department of Agriculture still regulated because of the disease.

   As part of the agreement, the United States also recognizes five Mexican states as meeting the requirements for Karnal bunt-free status.

   According to the USDA, Mexico is the third-largest importer of U.S. wheat, setting record sales of $459 million in 2004. California’s first shipment to Mexico, which departed on May 5, is 7,500 metric tons and is valued at about $2 million, the USDA said.