Wed, 18 May 2022

Pest outbreak threatens Israeli citrus industry

26 Jan 2022, 22:30 GMT+10

JERUSALEM, Jan. 26 (Xinhua) -- Israel's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on Wednesday reported an outbreak of a harmful bug that could cause deadly disease in citrus.

The pest, called the Asian citrus psyllid, was detected in 750,000 square meters of citrus orchards in Hefer valley near the Mediterranean Sea.

The pest could transmit to the trees a bacterium that causes the cureless citrus greening disease, which is considered the most dangerous for citrus.

After detecting the outbreak in Israel, the ministry held an emergency discussion and prepared a plan to deal with the pest, including spraying and monitoring it in other places.

"If we do not eradicate the pest, there will be a real extinction threat to the Israeli citrus industry, as has happened elsewhere in the world," said Shlomit Zioni, director of plant protection and inspection services at the ministry.

The Asian citrus psyllid is common in America and Asia and causes heavy damage mainly in the United States, Brazil and Cuba.

The ministry estimated that the pest came on citrus seedlings or kaffir lime leaves that were smuggled into Israel.

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