The Ministry of Agriculture is reaping some success in managing the citrus greening disease from spreading across the country. The disease which was discovered in Dominica in May 2012 has been found in several communities around the island, including La Plaine, Cabrits, Wesley and Pointe Michel.
The disease is transmitted by a vector called the Asian Citrus Psyllid.
Plant Protection Officer Ryan Anselm recently reported that efforts to eradicate the vector have been successful so far.
“Our programme is to eliminate all infested trees and to control the vector. As a Ministry, we have imported 40 thousand parasitoids and we have distributed these parasitoids all over the island. Recent surveys have indicated that they have been very successful in managing the vector. The disease has been intercepted in four main areas: Pointe Michel, La Plaine, Wesley and at the Cabrits. Our programme in these areas has been to cut all infested trees. “
Meantime small and backyard farmers in Pointe Michel have been advised to cooperate with the Ministry of Agriculture as it seeks to eradicate plants affected by the citrus greening disease in that community.
Anselm says while the ministry recognizes the fact that the eradication exercise will affect the livelihood of some farmers, the decision is vital for the survival of the citrus industry in Dominica.
The Ministry of Agriculture is receiving support from the University of Florida and two Cuban experts in dealing with the management of the citrus greening disease.
“These two institutions along with the two experts have recommended that we have a very unique situation in Dominica and if we act rapidly we can eradicate the disease. By eradicating the disease we have to perform a painful exercise which is to cut down all citrus trees infested with citrus greening.”
Trees affected by the citrus greening disease usually die after a period of time since the disease starves the top of the tree thus resulting in reduced production.
Officials have confirmed that citrus fruits from affected trees taste different and are irregularly shaped.