Mediterranean fly outbreak in Bávaro and Punta Cana raises concern
Punta Cana.- A new outbreak of the Mediterranean Fly, scientifically known as Ceratitis capitata, has been detected in Bávaro and Punta Cana, La Altagracia province. This pest, affecting over 60 types of agricultural crops, poses a significant threat to the region’s agriculture.
The Agricultural Technical Team of the Dominican Liberation Party (PLD) and the Abel Martínez Campaign have raised concerns about this development. They accuse the government led by President Luis Abinader of withholding information about the pest’s arrival in the country. The team claims that the government’s reluctance to disclose such issues is an attempt to convey a false sense of wellbeing.
The PLD specialists criticize the current government for dismantling a special pest surveillance and detention program established during their tenure. This program was designed to protect the nation’s agricultural production from pests. They allege that the dismantling of this program, and the dismissal of over 700 agricultural technicians responsible for guarding Dominican borders against pest invasions, has left the country vulnerable. This vulnerability was exemplified by the entry and spread of African Swine Fever, which significantly impacted pork production in the Dominican Republic.
The Mediterranean Fly outbreak, which they claim is being concealed by the government, is the latest issue to emerge from these policy changes. This pest is particularly destructive to fruit and vegetable crops like avocado, mango, citrus fruits, chili peppers, tomatoes, and sapote. The economic implications are severe, as affected crops face export bans and restrictions, leading to substantial financial losses.
The team recalls that the Mediterranean Fly was previously eradicated by the Ministry of Agriculture during the PLD government in April 2017, after causing over $40 million in losses. They express concern over the current situation’s potential impact on Dominican agriculture and the necessary resources to contain this pest.