One of the biggest challenges to citrus growers is the Mediterranean fruit fly (Medfly), which increases in number in farmed orchards as the fruit deteriorated.
To counteract this, the PPMB launched Orri Jaffa, an easy peeler mandarin, fully protected using biological controls. It will be on show at Fruit Logistica, from Feb. 7-9 at The Cube, in Berlin.
It said that, along with the Israel Cohen Institute for Biological Control (ICIBC), its mission had been to ensure that citrus orchards minimize pest control and use eco-friendly measures.
To ensure that orchards remain sustainable and make the most of the natural enemies of the citrus pests, targeted intervention is required to keep the eco-system in balance, it said.
Almost 70% of the 11,000 hectares of citrus orchards are sprayed with natural, food-based baits, luring the Medfly to biological insecticides. This process meets the environmental criteria of spraying at ultra-low volumes (ULV) as approved by global organic organizations.
Around 20% of the orchards, are located near urban area or water sources, the method used here involves alternating bait spraying with the use of bait stations.
In around 10% of orchards, an advanced insecticide free control is used, such as the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT). This involves release of factory-bred sterile male Medflies who mate with the wild females, causing the population to drop. Another method involves mating disruption (MD) for moths, which uses synthetic sex pheromones confusing the locality of the targeted species and so reproduction.
Medfly can also threat countries where it is considered a quarantine pest and to combat this, phytosanitary measures are now being used. Here, the exported citrus fruits undergo an environmentally friendly cold treatment in which the fruit is stored in sub-freezing temperatures for around two to three weeks, to eliminate any chance of introducing living pests to the import country.
PPMB along with ICIBC are today using a reliable monitoring system and accurate Geographical Information System (GIS) which precisely uses pest control only where it is needed.
“Since we take full responsibility for this biological pest control, we are able to ensure transparency and more importantly, traceability of the Orri Jaffa supply chain from farm to retailer and so keep it safe,” PPMB citrus head Tal Amit said.
“We decide how and when, and exactly what method to use each time, for protecting Orri Jaffa from fruit flies”.