The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture has developed an action plan for Grenada to impart knowledge, share experiences and apply good agricultural practices, to contain the spread of the Huanglongbing (HLB) or citrus greening disease, which is devastating citrus crops worldwide.
In response to a request by Grenada’s Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, IICA and the Ministry’s Pest Management Unit organised a symposium for farmers, input suppliers, vendors, agronomists, quarantine officers and agricultural extension personnel to discuss the status of citrus plantations and strategies to combat the transmission of the bacteria.
The symposium also trained participants in the identification of and rapid response to HLB, sharing lessons learned and best practices implemented by countries such as Jamaica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, to contain the disease and to prevent the negative effects on the citrus production sector.
The initiative stemmed from the fact that the producers themselves detected a decline in the yield of citrus plantations, while subsequent laboratory analysis confirmed that the crop had been affected by HLB, forcing the main supplier of propagated citrus plants to farmers to suspend operations.
National Specialist in the IICA Grenada Delegation, Derek Charles explained that, “We realised that to address this problem in the country, we would have to request the assistance of our technical partners in Jamaica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, who have gone through the same process and used all available solutions to help to contain this disease”.
Jamaica, for example, already has a citrus certification program, whereas St. Vincent and the Grenadines is in the process of developing one, demonstrating their success in containing the spread of HBL.
Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, Elvis Morain, expressed his satisfaction with the Institute’s support for the agriculture sector in his country and pledged to continue efforts to ensure that the farmers finally win the battle against this citrus disease.
In conjunction with the plan, a collaboration agreement will be established between one of the input suppliers and the Ministry’s Pest Management Unit to establish demonstration plots to test the effectiveness of fertilizers and pesticides in properly managing the disease in the region.