Brazil’s Fundecitrus on Feb. 15 participated in a meeting with state and local government representatives to discuss the country’s citrus greening (HLB) situation. Representatives of the Department of Agriculture and Supply (SAA) of the state of São Paulo and mayors of some municipalities in the citrus belt also attended.
Mayors and representatives of city halls expressed concern about the economic and social effects of the disease. They were especially concerned for small citrus growers impacted by the so-called “edge effect,” where HLB-spreading psyllids settle in the first 100 meters of an orchard. Because of the edge effect, the psyllids contaminate a larger portion of the orange trees in smaller groves.
Juliano Ayres, Fundecitrus general manager, and Arthur Tomaseto, the institution’s transfer and technology agronomist, highlighted the disease’s destructive potential. They also discussed the establishment of partnerships between producers and public agencies to strengthen HLB prevention and control.
“This disease has destroyed Florida, which is now going to harvest 16 million boxes of oranges. And it is destroying Central America right now,” Ayres told SAA members and mayors. “The awareness of citrus growers, the public sector and society is a path of vital partnership to make people understand the seriousness of the situation and face the disease in an assertive way.”
São Paulo Secretary of Agriculture and Supply Antônio Júlio Junqueira de Queiroz suggested that the Coordination of Integral Technical Assistance, the Coordination of Agricultural Defense and the city halls create an action plan. He requested that new meetings be held soon to assess progress.
“It’s no use for one city to take care of it (HLB), and another bordering one not to do its part,” said the mayor of Aguaí, José Alexandre Pereira de Araújo. “Because the one that didn’t do its part takes the psyllid with the bacteria to the one that took good care of it. So, when we work together, we’re more efficient … We need to intensify the fight against greening.”
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