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IAEA Assists Biosecurity Authority Of Fiji In Managing Fruit Fly Problem

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is assisting the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji (BAF) through funding of €1279,000 (FJ$2.86million) to manage fruit flies in Fiji. Fruit flies are threat to
12 Nov 2016 11:47
IAEA Assists Biosecurity Authority Of Fiji In Managing Fruit Fly Problem

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is assisting the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji (BAF) through funding of €1279,000 (FJ$2.86million) to manage fruit flies in Fiji.

Fruit flies are threat to fruit and vegetable production in Fiji and exports of these produce to overseas markets as they damage the fruits and vegetables.

Out of the seven species only three species are considered to be economic species which are B xanthodes, B passiflorae and B kirki.

BAF submitted a proposal to IAEA in 2014 for managing fruit flies in Fiji which was approved in 2015. The four-year project began in 2016 with the assistance of the National Focal Point, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

BAF executive chairman Xavier Khan said one of the main aims of the IAEA project was to address fruit fly issue in Fiji and Rotuma adding that for Rotuma the project aims to supress the levels of B. Kirkito very low levels and possibly eradicate it using modern techniques.

Mr Khan said this can be done through integrated pest management methods such as trapping and baiting and also using innovative tested and proven Sterile Insect Technique (STI) which would contribute to the sustainability of fruit production through integration of suppression technologies to control fruit flies.

“Fruit flies affecting fresh fruits and vegetables restrict trade as it can be transmitted to importing or trading countries through exports of fresh fruits and vegetables,” he said.

“Fiji has been subjected to stringent biosecurity import requirements from many developed countries and has further faced numerous challenges in the market access and export of these fruit fly host commodities because of the presence of B. kirki in Rotuma.

“Fiji has also faced suspensions in past for export of these fruit fly host commodities namely breadfruit, papaya, eggplant and mangoes.

“While BAF has  stringent monitoring and surveillance program to prevent the entry of B. kirki from Rotuma into Fiji through restrictions of fruits and vegetables from Rotuma to Fiji, there is still a pathway that could allow  B. kirkito transmit through undeclared fruits and vegetables on vessels and air flights from Rotuma to Fiji.”

Mr Khan said if B. kirkienters VitiLevu, Fiji’s current export of fresh produce to overseas market would be jeopardised.

“This is why it is extremely important to manage and eradicate B kirkiin Rotuma,” he said.

According to Mr Khan, the Project would also help Fiji access export markets for its fruits and vegetables including those which are Fruit fly host commodities such as breadfruit, papaya, mangoes,and eggplants in other countries too.

“The suppression and possibly eradication of B kirki population in Rotuma would also have overall benefit as it would reduce damages of fruits in Rotuma and benefit the subsistence, semi-commercial and commercial growers.

“The Rotuman farmers would be freely able to export their fresh produce to Fiji and other countries without restrictions of transmitting B kirki and earn foreign exchange.”

Currently, an IAEA funded consultant from Australia is on a mission to Rotuma to conduct assessment on Rotuma Island on fruit fly population and management strategies particularly B kirki. The strategies initially would include suppressing the B. kirki and then work towards eradication.

Following the assessment, management strategies will be prepared by IAEA for BAF to implement measures.

The four-year IAEA Project will also include capacity building for stakeholders involved in the Project, reduced population of B kirki to acceptable levels, increase in fruit production and quality, increased export opportunities, increased farmers incomes, increased income of value chain actors in fruit exports and increase in total employment in the horticultural sector, primarily of the rural poor.

Mr Khan expressed gratitude to the IAEA and Fijian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for its support and assistance in the fruit fly management project.

 



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