GOVERNMENT FOCUSING ON GROWING THE CITRUS INDUSTRY
Published on Friday, 12 December 2014 10:00
Citrus Greening Disease
Dominica stands to lose approximately $17M in foreign exchange if the citrus industry was to succumb to disease. This is according to Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture And Forestry, Harold Guiste.
It is estimated that 5,355 acres is used to cultivate citrus crops on the island.
Among the number of diseases that affects the citrus industry Huanglong Bing or HLB commonly known as the Citrus Greening Disease has caused much damage locally.
The Government of Dominica through the Ministry of Agriculture, however, has developed several strategies to deal with the disease.
This includes fiscal incentives to improve the technical capabilities of the Ministry and a Citrus Certification Programme introduced since 2010 which produces citrus plants free of all known diseases that could affect citrus.
The Plant Protection Unit is also engaged in other practical methods of eradicating the disease.
“The Plant Protection Unit has cut and burnt 500 infected citrus trees from the most affected areas in the south and Wesley in the North in our efforts to deal with this problem. There has been distribution of over 30,000 clean, disease-free planting materials to farmers all over the island,” said Guiste.
He added that there has also been, “enforcement of strict internal quarantine systems to prevent the movement of infested trees. We have provided farmers with true-to-type disease-free citrus planting materials from the Ministry of Agriculture.”
He said further that private citrus nurseries have been closed to prevent further spread and bring this disease under control.
Dominica is also working on a legislative framework to deal with the management of the disease.
The Ministry of Agriculture has also gotten assistance from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the European Union, the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and Cuba.
From December 10th to 12th Dominica is hosted a regional workshop on the management of the Citrus Greening Disease.
CARICOM countries and Latin American experts shared their experience in dealing with the disease.
This workshop was a forum to share experiences and gain knowledge to formulate national action plans to combat the Citrus Greening Disease in the region.
A national action plan which was already developed for Dominica will also be under review.
The Government of Dominica has spent an estimated amount of $15M between 2007 and 2013 to grow the citrus industry.