Cape Town’s fruit supply could be in some serious trouble after the pesky oriental fruit fly was discovered in Grabouw.

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries announced the presence of the fly which hails from Asia and can result in many consequences including: yield reduction, food insecurity, market restrictions, high production costs, post-harvest costs and job losses if not properly controlled.

The fly is known to lay their eggs in mature fruit and once hatched, the larvae eat the flesh of the fruit.

Fruits that are reportedly under risk include: mangoes, apples, pears, guava, papaya, apricot, peaches, citrus, cherry, grapes, passion fruit, tomato, cucurbits and peppers.

The Department says that a male fly was first discovered on January 31, 2018 in a protein-baited trap serviced by FruitFly Africa in Grabouw. A female fly was identified a few days later in the same trap, while a third specimen was found 6km away from the first detection point on February 14, 2018.

The first detection point has been quarantined. “Growers, packing and processing facilities of host material have been placed under quarantine and eradication initiated in a 25km2 area surrounding the detection point,” the Department said in a statement.

The Department added that the flies can be managed through orchid/field sanitation, chemicals, removing host material from infested areas.

Farmers have been urged not to remove fruit from the quarantined areas unless they have a permit to do so, while international visitors  have been asked not to engage in “illegal importation”.

“…community members and farmers are reminded not to remove fruit from quarantine areas to non-quarantine areas without first receiving a removal permit.”

“International travelers are advised to avoid illegal importation of agricultural commodities into South Africa because this may lead to the introduction of new pests and diseases which are expensive and difficult to manage.”


Picture: Pixabay

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