Letters To The Editor, March 24, 2015

Maggots in guavas Dr Sushil K Sharma, Lautoka   Guavas are in full season, with trees in the Western Division loaded with many scores of lovely bright yellow fresh guavas
24 Mar 2015 12:40
Letters To The Editor, March 24, 2015

Maggots in guavas

Dr Sushil K Sharma, Lautoka


Guavas are in full season, with trees in the Western Division loaded with many scores of lovely bright yellow fresh guavas for the picking. The markets in the Western Division are also selling very large heaps for as low as a dollar.

However, I have been busy doing research in these fruits after a child accidently bit on one fruit, had a look at the eaten part, and went ballistic. After an enquiry he screamed “maggots!” and kept spitting till he has no saliva left in his mouth!

The following days and as late as yesterday, I tried my best to discern the nature of this problem.

I collected samples of it from a number of farms of three groups of guavas –under ripe, ripe and over ripe- and all of these had unbroken skin and a very clean glossy sheen on them, without any rot or damage.

To my surprise, I found that all the guavas which were ripe or over ripe had small 2-10 millimetre in length “maggots”.

They were clear translucent worms, less than a millimeter in diameter.

The under ripe may had it too, but were possibly too small and latent.

They need to be looked at carefully in light and then their wriggling motion only after staring at a spot for 20-30 seconds or more will become evident.

You may have noted that the fruit fly appears to lay its eggs right into the central seed of the mango –“gutli” and many months later, whilst eating the fruits, it will be noted that the flesh has not been affected.

Only when one cuts across the entire fruit to make pickles, you will note inside the “gutli” rind, fat maggots with their waste and parts of the white inner kernel seed eaten away also.

These worms co-exist inside the strong rind casing of the mango seed.

In all markets in the west during the mango season, one will note that vendors slicing the mangoes and clearing the dark black patches in the middle, washing it in basins of water, and then displaying it for sale. Before the fruit fly problem, there was not such need.

Recently. we note that the entire Auckland region was under lockdown, in an attempt to try to trap fruit flies after the discovery of a few in one farm. These fruit flies have the potential to wipe out the entire fruit and vegetable industry.

Australia, New Zealand, EU, USA and other markets are not buying any mangoes from Fiji, as far as I am aware.

I think that despite fumigation which will kill insects on the outside only, the interior of the hard rind parts of the mangos cannot be treated in any way, which may mean that any export will also transfer the larvae to our trading partners.

The government will need to try to eradicate fruit flies from Fiji totally, in consultation with advice, technology, and funding from developed nation as a matter of urgency.

The problem in mangoes has been known for nearly two decades but this issue has never been taken on, as a worthwhile exercise.

We should take the cue from Australia and New Zealand, who have a lot to teach us in combating the problem at hand in Fiji.

We need advice from experts and medical doctors as to the effects of these worms, especially in guavas, on our health and the way we can treat the problem –once these organisms have been ingested into our systems.

Industry, Trade and Tourism Minister Faiyaz Siddiq Koya also needs to become proactive to see how these problems can be eradicated, as the “fruit fly” can have major repercussions on the Fijian industry, trade and even tourism also.

So next time you bite into a nice bright yellow fresh looking guava, please spare a thought of what may be lurking in there, and look before you leap and cry out “Maggot!”

Municipal elections

Amenatave Yaconisau, Delainavesi

It has been almost six months since we had the general elections and the democratically elected government has been put in place.

Yet the town councils led by the new minister is still being runned in its old format i.e the Special Administrator system instead of the local government act.

The Minister has for the last six months been hiding behind the excuse that the local govenment act is still under review maybe in accordance with section 173(1) of the constitution. Isnt six (6) months long enough to do that “big” task.

Once the local government act is reviewed and passed by parliament the Supervisor of Election should commence the task of election for town councils.

Otherwise by-laws and regulations made by special administrators from September 2014 maybe challenged as illegal in a court of law.

This is unequal citizenry and violation of human rights and injustice that we always boast we adhere to wherever we go.

The Minister concerned should do something to maintain transparency and accountability.

Category 5 cyclone

Joji O. Toronibau

Tunuloa, Cakaudrove

When the category 5 Cyclone Pam was heading towards us but missed Fiji a bit, I bumped into a soothsayer and he said “wete ke lako mai na cyclone ya qai vo ga na baca ni qele” [if that monster cyclone come our way only earthworms will be left).

I request a text number for convenience or an account number at a commercial bank for contributions please.

Blame game
Daniel Urai,Lautoka


The Attorney-General is at it again blaming FTUC for lobbying against Fiji in Geneva.

The decision on the Commission of Enquiry into Fiji has been made by the ILO governing body and they needed no lobbying from FTUC to make the decision.

The decision was strengthened after the interim government rejected the ILO Mission team into Fiji on September 2012 .

At least the AG is aware that a commission of enquiry is not in the best interest of the country.

The solution is simple. Remove all decrees that are in breach of the ILO core conventions Fiji has ratified and return to all workers in the civil service and private sectors, their rights to exist and manage unions independently with no government interference.

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