Loophole in carrot embargo to end
Government will take steps within days to counteract the importation of baby carrots, which are bringing in a dangerous pest.
Deputy Premier Derrick Burgess revealed the news during a debate on protected species in the House of Assembly on Friday, November 25.
According to Mr Burgess, the imported carrots are bringing in the Carrot Rust Fly which can decimate crops.
He accused local wholesalers of exploiting a loophole in legislation passed more than 40 years ago, which bans carrots from being imported.
“They don’t really care about the farmers’ industry,” he alleged. “They want to make a buck bringing in baby carrots, but that annoys me.”
He said Environment Minister Marc Bean would bring in an embargo within seven days to counteract this but did not explain further.
Outside the House, Mr Bean told
The Royal Gazette: “There’s a major importer in Bermuda importing baby carrots. The farmers are up in arms over it.
“Both the Opposition and Government agree with the farmers. Imported carrots come with a disease and it can affect and devastate all the agricultural land in Bermuda, especially carrots.’
He did not elaborate as to the nature of the loophole and would not name the importer in question.
Mr Bean said the new embargo must be published in the Official Gazette seven days before it comes into effect. He estimated that it will be in place within ten days. According to information previously issued by the Bermuda Farmers Association, a carrot embargo has been in place since 1970 to prevent the accidental introduction of the Carrot Rust Fly.
The larvae or maggots of the pest enter the fine rootlets of the carrot before burrowing into the main tap root, resulting in distorted misshapen carrots that are unmarketable.
The pest is well-established in most European countries, and can also be found across Canada, the US, New Zealand and Tasmania.
Illegally importing carrots into Bermuda can result in criminal charges.