Dominica is putting the necessary practices in place to prevent the spread of a pest known as the ‘Red Palm Weevil’ which is said to be dangerous to coconuts and palms.
The Red Palm Weevil, which has not been detected in Dominica, was brought into the Caribbean in 2009 through the Dutch islands of Aruba and Curaçao.
Agricultural Scientists of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Lionel Wayne De Chi, has handed over material to the head of the Plant Protection Unit, Ryan Anselm to begin surveillance for the pest.
“We have constructed and fabricated the trapping material and we have delivered the material to Dominica to start their surveillance of the Red Palm Weevil and that is why I am here,” he told Dominica News Online. “The trap is to conduct the surveillance activity to determine if it is safe or not.”
According to him, the USDA has established a forum to combat pests called the Caribbean Plant Health Director’s Forum which consists of six working groups.
“One of the working groups is called a Palm Pest Working group,” he explained.
De Chi stated that at the USDA 7th meeting of the Caribbean Plant Health Forum, a decision was taken to survey the entire Caribbean region.
And according to him five countries have been trained to identify the Weevil and Dominica was one of the first countries in the first phase.
He mentioned also that a Dino-Lite microscope, which operates via the internet, will be use to detect the pest.
“It is not a traditional microscope…,” he noted.
The USDA has already trained two technicians from the Plant Protection Unit here on the identification of the Weevil, the surveillance of it and to develop a surveillance protocol.
Minister of Agriculture, Johnson Drigo thanked the USDA for its continued support and capacity building in pest identification, surveillance and training.
The last USDA forum was held in the Cayman Islands and the next will be held in Aruba.