New fruit fly poses huge threat to sa

A new fruit fly detected in ghana
could have devastating effects on
fruit production and export if it spreads
to South africa.

A new fruit fly detected in ghana
could have devastating effects on
fruit production and export if it
spreads to South africa. Johan
Pienaar, an entomologist
specialising in subtropical and
citrus fruit said, “it’s our
biggest threat. i’m concerned
that our borders don’t have the
necessary measures in place to
control entry of contaminated
fruit into South africa,” he said.
if the pest is detected in this country
it will affect existing export markets
and jeopardise access to new
markets. South africa’s export
protocol will also be reviewed.
“it will take a few years to prove
that South Africa can control the
pest,” he said.pienaar said although
the fruit fly attacks deciduous, citrus
and subtropical fruit, the most
dangerous host is mango as it is
cultivated throughout africa. grower
organisations are aware of the
pest, but growers of smaller crops
such as papaya, banana and guava
may not be aware of the potential threat.
“it is an aggressive invader. i monitor
it in ghana and i detected over 500 fruit
flies in a trap in one day,” he said.
marianna theyse, assistant director
of the international standards at the
department of agriculture directorate
for plant health, said early warning
systems will detect invasions of
high-risk exotic pests such as the
new fruit fly,
Bactrocera invadens.
the early warning system also monitors
priority areas such as ports and areas
along land border lines. regular scientific
information exchange with affected
neighbouring countries also monitors the
spread of the pest. – Wilma den Hartigh