State officials have imposed isolation on 84 square miles in South Florida after the appearance of Oriental fruit fly, a pest that attacks almost 400 types of fruits and vegetables.
The presence of this insect was first discovered a few weeks ago in Redland, near Miami, when authorities immediately banned the transport of products from that area. Redland is very productive an area, popular for its possibility of producing all sort of fruits and vegetables due to its tropical climate.
In recent years, tropical fruit growth became higher and higher, with new varieties brought from Asia and Central America, such as Dragon fruit and Mamey.
Now, after the detection of the fly, the officials were forced to stop production in the attacked areas from Redland. This measure had been taken exactly at the moment farmers began harvesting tropical fruit crops.
Other fruits and vegetables that are also affected are sapodilla, guavas, passion fruit, peppers, beans, tomatoes etc. Adam Putnam, Florida’s agriculture commissioner, has ordered the destruction of the harmed fruits and declared a state of emergency.
The way the fly acts upon the fruit is the following: with the help of specialized structures, the fly can pierce the fruit in order to lay its effs. Until now, the inspectors have found almost 160 such flies, but the number is decreasing, which can be a proof that the obliteration measures bear fruits.
Paul Hornby, a member of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, declares that both the scientists and the farmers are experienced with this kind of flies, as Florida has previously been attacked 75 more times in the last 90 years.
At J&C Tropicals, a farm located in the heart of Redland, the operations manager Salvador Fernandez tries to save some of the fruits by irradiating them prior to transporting them to the market places. This technique is allowed by the authorities but, unfortunately, it implies great costs. Fernandez hopes the situation will be soon solved, otherwise many farmers will go bankrupt after an industry worth $700 million will be destroyed.
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