Basseterre, St. Kitts, April 09, 2015 (SKNIS): A Mediterranean fruit fly (ceratitis capitata) detection in the Dominican Republic has resulted in an immediate import ban on all agricultural products from that Caribbean nation, according to a release from the St. Kitts-Nevis Department of Agriculture. The ban is inclusive of all fruits, vegetables, seeds, grains, cut flowers and branches.
Quarantine officer in the Department of Agriculture, Jeanelle Kelly, explained the reason for the ban.
“The ban was put in place to ensure there is no introduction of the pest into our local agricultural sector,” Ms Kelly explained. “The pest can reap havoc on agricultural products by embedding itself into the fruit or other type of commodity and breed; the spread is rapid and devastating.”
The ban she said, “will remain in effect until the Dominican Republic has successfully shown that satisfactory plant health measures have been employed to control and or eradicate the pest.”
The Department of Agriculture revealed that there are 267 registered crop farmers in the federation and they have been advised by the Department of Agriculture to monitor their fields for the presence of the insect. The Department of Agriculture, she said, “has an ongoing invasive alien species sensitization program for farmers and an active fruit fly surveillance program at ports of entry and within other areas of the sector to ensure national food security.”
Alistair Edwards, Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, commented on the actions being taken, by his department and other stakeholders.
“I am pleased with the proactive approach of my quarantine team, the customs enforcement officers and the cooperation of farmers in meeting the threat head on,” he stated, and “this approach involving all stakeholders locally will continue to ensure our sector is free of this threat and the Ministry of Agriculture appreciates the cooperation thus far from farmers and others.”