The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) staff are currently involved in a full-scale examination of all imported Christmas trees.
This year in the absence of the overseas pre-inspection by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) staff, the local inspection process will involve a full-scale examination of all imported Christmas trees.
The Minister of Home Affairs, the Hon. Walter Roban, JP MP said, “The process of overseas pre-inspection of Christmas trees by DENR staff was established many years ago to reduce the risk of infested trees landing on our shores. The overseas pre-inspection allows inspectors from the DENR/Bermuda to thoroughly inspect the plantations from which the trees destined for Bermuda are harvested. If there are issues at the time of pre-inspection, the grower and Agriculture/Forestry Departments are made aware that trees destined for Bermuda cannot originate from plantations with infestations.
Most local importers are shipping Christmas trees to Bermuda as usual. However, the following factors may affect how many Christmas trees are available to purchase locally:
· The global resurgence of COVID
· Economic challenges; and,
· The risk of importing infested trees
Minister Roban added, “I wish to thank staff at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for their hard work during this season. The staff has been working flat out to inspect the trees and meet delivery dates. I am grateful for their dedication and service. We will continue to work until last trees have been delivered and are safely in homes across the island.”
To prevent the spread of plant pests and diseases, the trade-in plants is regulated. This regulation involves the issuance of an Import Permit by the importing country, which stipulates the plant health (phytosanitary) conditions which must be met for plants to enter that country. In response to any Import Permit issued by DENR for the importation of Christmas trees, the exporting country must inspect the product to be exported and affirm compliance via the issuance of a Phytosanitary Certificate. A Phytosanitary Certificate must accompany all incoming plant shipments.
It should be noted that any incoming Christmas trees will not be permitted entry without a Phytosanitary Certificate and imported infested trees are incinerated.