With the assistance of the United States Department of Agriculture, CARDI, the St. Lucia Ministry of Agriculture and the Technical Working Group of the Caribbean Plant Health Directors Forum, Plant Protection Specialist, Hannah Romaine, is assisting the Ministry of Agriculture’s Plant Protection Unit in finding out what is going on with the fruit fly in Dominica.
“We realize that the fruit fly is a major pest in the region but specifically in Dominica. The situation is totally different. We have seen that fruit flies are affecting mangoes in Dominica whereas in other countries, this is not so,” Romaine said. “So we are here to find out what really brings about this difference in infestation. We’ll be conducting studies to find out the morphological differences that exist with fruit flies in Dominica and St. Lucia and other countries where that situation is different.”
She says the team will rear fruit flies to adult stage.
Molecular research on the flies is expected to produce results as to why the fruit flies in Dominica are so unique.
She says conditions may exist in Dominica that could account for the behaviour of local fruit flies. Romaine listed elevation and rainfall patterns.”
According to Romaine, control of these flies will lead to the improvement of the mango export industry.
“We know that the Julie [grafted] mango is an exported crop and the flies reduce the crop’s potential for export,” she noted. “We know that the adults lay the eggs in the fruit and the larvae feeds on the fruit making the fruit mushy and it cannot be consumed. It is not marketable. Because of this high unmarketable yield that we see in the mangoes, we realise that it is a problem which we need to address.”