Small and backyard farmers in Point Michel are being advised to cooperate with the Ministry of Agriculture as it seeks to eradicate plants affected by the Citrus Greening Disease in that community.
The disease which was discovered in Dominica in May 2012 has been found in several communities around the island, including La Plaine, Cabrits, Welsey and Point Michel.
“The situation in Point Michel is that 95 percent of the citrus have been infected with Citrus Greening Disease. We are going on an eradication drive because we have a good opportunity to eradicate the disease in Dominica,” Plant Protection Officer, Ryan Anselm, explained.
Anselm said while the ministry recognizes the fact that the eradication exercise will affect the livelihood of some farmers, the decision is vital for the survival of the citrus industry in Dominica.
“We recognize that they use the citrus but we have a fundamental role to play in sustaining the industry. If we do not eradicate that disease in Point Michel it will spread to our commercial areas,” he stated.
He said the disease is incurable and could damage the entire citrus industry in the country.
He said cutting of trees have already been conducted in the other communities.
One year after the destroying of trees, farmers are told that they can replant, Anselm said.
Trees affected by the disease usually die after a period of time since the disease starves the top of the tree thus resulting in reduced production. Fruits from affected trees taste different and are irregularly shaped, officials say.
The disease also causes yellowing of a plant’s new shoots and can be confused with zinc deficiency.
Laboratory confirmation is necessary to diagnose the disease.