Mexico: Veracruz Persian lime growers fearful of HLB virus

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Mexico: Veracruz Persian lime growers fearful of HLB virus

A government alert for citrus virus Huanglongbing (HLB)  in the Mexican state of Tabasco has producers in surrounding areas on their toes, El Sol de Córdoba reported.

Persian limes, Photo: Steve Hopson

Persian limes, Photo: Wikicommons, Steve Hopson

Persian lime growers in neighboring Veracruz are fearful about the 14,000 hectares (Ha) of product from Tabasco that could potentially pass through their territory, Persian Lime System President César Cortés Bello said.

"It's urgent Veracruz implement a phytosanitary barrier if it wants to continue being the country's main Persian lime producer and exporter," he said in the Mexican paper.

HLB is considered the world's most destructive citrus disease, producing inedible fruit and eventually killing plants entirely. Once trees have been infected, there is no cure.

Cortés warned that if Veracruz did not act accordingly, it would become the next Persian lime producing state hit by the virus. Fourteen states that produce the fruit have already been put under quarantine efforts, representing 38% of production.

Veracruz produces 40% of Mexico's Persian limes with 16,000 Ha, El Sol de Córdoba reported.

For overall citrus production, 550,000 hectares  in 23 Mexican states have the potential to  shaken by HLB, the Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fishing and Food Service (SAGARPA) reported.

Mexico began an official phytosanitary campaign against the virus in 2008 with 275 technicians dedicated to control efforts as of 2012, according to SAGARPA.

Other states put under phytosanitary control for the virus in 2012 were Quintana Roo, Yucatan, Nayarit, Jalisco, Colima, Campeche, Sinaloa, Michoacan, Chiapas, Baja California and Hidalgo.

Cortés urged growers to take their own preventive measures and requested that local goverment dedicate extra efforts to keep the virus away.

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