Fruit flies affecting crops that could be exported to North American, European markets

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Over 4,000 male fruit flies were captured at Orealla, Region Six – where there is a huge pest problem affecting vegetables and other crops.

The spread of these fruit flies has recently intensified, prompting the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) to intervene.

Over the past four weeks, Plant Protection Officers have been monitoring the situation and setting under traps under a programme – Carambola Fruit Fly (CFF) – being rolled out by NAREI in collaboration with the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA).

According to NAREI, this pest hinders Guyana’s ability to export certain fresh fruits and vegetables to North American and European markets.

Under the programme, community outreaches are being held which to aim of conducting surveys and monitoring the status of the pest and to initiate control and eradication activities, especially within the hinterland communities bordering Guyana and Brazil.

So far, the communities that benefited are Orealla/Siparuta in Region Six; Madhia, Bamboo Creek, Kanapang and surrounding satellite communities in Region Eight; and Lethem and surrounding communities in the North and South Rupununi in Region Nine.

NAREI, in a press release, noted that of the areas visited, Region Eight had an alarming population of these fruit flies.

“Of the sites visited, more than 65 percent of the traps were missing…They were replaced, and those that were found were badly damaged… A total of 157 male (fruit flies) were captured from the traps found,” said Brian Sears, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of NAREI.

Orealla was another area of major concern. “Twenty-two traps that were set for monitoring purposes recorded an extremely high B. carambolae population. Over 4,000 male fruit flies were captured. Four of the traps that were missing were also replaced,” NAREI said.

Public awareness sessions were conducted within all communities to ensure residents are informed about the importance as well as the harm this pest could have on agriculture and the economy.

Villagers were encouraged to participate and assist NAREI’s Extension staff, especially those working within the areas affected. Also, key community leaders and pilot farmers were trained to ensure continuation and sustainability of the programme.

NAREI said this programme will continue and be complimented with a regional programme to include countries such as Brazil, Guyana and Suriname.

“This is important as control and eradication would only be possible if all the countries affected work together to implement similar and simultaneous procedures that could bring about the desired results,” NAREI noted.

Importantly, NAREI will receive a dedicated budget annually that will be supported by partners such as IICA to support similar activities.