Panama aims to become top sterile fruit fly producer
Panama could become a center of production and distribution of sterile Mediterranean fruit flies to help eradicate the pest, which is one of the most destructive in agriculture, according to local news website Prensa.com.
Agricultural authorities in Panama are negotiating with the United States to produce sterile flies in a plant that already produces sterile males to fight another type of pest that plagues cattle and other livestock, said Emilio Kieswetter, minister of Agricultural Development, according to the website. The plant is a joint project of Panama and the U.S.
“To attain the approval of the U.S., an annex to the plant will be built and the same mechanism that has been developed for the eradication of the [livestock pest] will be implemented,” Kieswetter is quoted as saying.
The Mediterranean fruit fly attacks mature fruit, pushing its shell inside the skin and depositing its eggs in the perforation. The eggs become larvae that then eat the fruit pulp. The fly particularly affects citrus, guava, papaya, coffee, tomatoes and star apples in Panama, the website said.
In an eradication program, the sterile male flies are released into fields, where females mate with them but do not produce fertile eggs, according to the Department of Primary Industries of Victoria, Australia.
Photo: U.S. Department of Agriculture