The governor of Brazil’s state of São Paulo, Tarcísio de Freitas, on Oct. 16 decreed the formation of a state committee for greening contingency after meeting with several members of the state’s citrus industry. Greening affects 38.06% of orange trees in the states of São Paulo and Minas Gerais.
The governor acted after considerations by the Sylvio Moreira Citriculture Center/Agronomic Institute of Campinas, the Agricultural Defense Coordination and the Comprehensive Technical Assistance Coordination.
The state committee’s first steps, according to the governor, should be a major awareness campaign and guidance regarding greening, inspection of abandoned orchards and strengthening research to improve control and lasting solutions.
“With the decree, the Secretariat of Agriculture and Supply, Civil House, Secretariat of Finance and Planning, Secretariat of Environment, Infrastructure and Logistics can act jointly,” the governor said. “It has to be a living committee, with permanent work. We are in a fight against time. Count on the government of the state of São Paulo.”
“We need to learn from our mistakes,” State Secretary of Agriculture and Supply Guilherme Piai said. “We all saw what happened to Florida.”
In Florida, production fell from 240 million boxes to 20 million boxes in 20 years, primarily because of greening.
“Citrus farming is a source of pride for us in São Paulo,” Piai added. “We are 100% committed to overcoming the problem.”
Fundecitrus, representing citrus growers, presented proposed solutions for the short, medium and long term. The proposals include a state communication program, elimination of diseased plants in abandoned orchards and non-commercial areas, assistance for small producers, guidance and supervision in psyllid control and regionalization of control strategies.
“Cooperation, which is at the very origin of Fundecitrus, is fundamental at this moment,” said Fundecitrus President Lourival Carmo Monaco.
“The sector needs the government because citrus farming could become unviable in São Paulo in the coming years,” said Fundecitrus General Manager Juliano Ayres.
“In more than 50 years of citrus farming, I have never experienced a situation as difficult as the current one,” said citrus grower Eurides Fachini. “We left the meeting with clear objectives. The new government was very agile and understood our concerns. It’s still too early to say what will happen, but expectations are positive.”
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