One of the world’s most dangerous citrus diseases has begun to affect Dominica’s citrus crops.
The citrus greening disease, according to plant protection officer, Ryan Anselm, is spread through a vector and was first discovered on island in 2007.
The presence of the disease has been confirmed and there is a current risk of the vector spreading this harmful disease which could negatively affect Dominica’s citrus industry.
Anselm noted that it is essential that travelers adhere to plant and animal quarantine laws as the disease can only be transported by people.
The Government of Dominica through the Ministry of Agriculture has developed measures to thoroughly manage the impact of the disease.
Anselm says the strategy of the Ministry if three fold.
“We do not have the vector in high population so our first strategy is to manage the vector. We are going to do that by multiplying natural enemies such as parasites, parasitoids and other insects to control the vector. We are also going to put strict quarantine measures in place to restrict as much as possible the movement of planting materials from one area to the next and that is important. If an area is infested with the disease, what we don’t want is people moving this disease to another location. We will also be putting strict certification procedures in place. We have a citrus certification program where the Ministry of Agriculture will be able to monitor all planting materials going out into our agricultural zones.”
One other strategy that officer Anselm noted was that farmers and extension officers will be trained in disease management and disease identification. He also said that the public will be closely monitored in order to prevent the spreading of the disease.
The citrus greening disease causes yellowing of plants new shoots and can be confused with zinc deficiency. Laboratory confirmation is necessary to diagnose this disease.