Tanzanian fruit fly threat could stop country's shipments

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Tanzanian fruit fly threat could stop country's shipments

Tanzanian orange imports could face a ban unless the country takes effective steps to combat the invasive fruit fly which is wreaking havoc in farms in the Muheza District, website Thecitizen.co.tz reported.

Mikocheni Agricultural Research Institute expert Zuberi Seguni, warned delegates at the Orange Crop Value Chain Platform that countries found to have been invaded by the pest were not allowed to export.

This would have serious financial consequences for the thousands of orange farmers in Muheza District and other nearby regions.

Bank of Tanzania statistics show the country earns US$35 million annually from its fruit and flower exports.

The pest, of Asian origin, was first detected in Tanzania and Kenya in 2003 but it has rapidly spread across the African continent and is curently present in at least 24 countries.

Seguni said the estimated loss to orange production due to the invasive fly has been estimated at 32,000MT yearly since its detection in 2003.

Tanga region was estimated to have 840,000 orange trees covering 8,400 hectares in 2008 with more than 80% in the Muheza District.

Seguni said production has increased dramatially to reach more than 72,000MTs of oranges giving farmers an income of about Sh3 billion (US$1.9 million) a year.

"This income is now being threatened because of destruction being done by the invasive fly which wreaks havoc to oranges and other fruits such as mangoes, guavas, water melons, avocados," he was quoted as saying.

He said the fly could be controlled by use of integrated pest management aimed at reducing losses caused by the fly without affecting humans, animals and the environment.

Seguni said picking up fallen oranges and burying them could control 50% of the problem and that using bait to attract the flies such as mazoferm and brown sugar or methyl eugenol was another option.

The Zonal Agricultural and Livestock Research and Development Fund (ZARDEF) Northern Zone Project is currently conducting control activities in Muheza.

Photo: Laopinion.cl


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