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Costa Rica: HLB Control Continues in Chiles and Upala

The State Phytosanitary Service, SFE, of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, MAG, through the management and control program of Huanglongbing (HLB) in citrus, known as the Yellow Dragon, has managed to cut 468 citrus trees with a presence of the disease. In addition the elimination of 300 more trees is being coordinated with the private sector, which have been identified in Chiles and Upala, mostly along roadsides and backyards.

It is important to note that both supervision and eradication efforts have increased since the middle of 2016, thanks to the collaboration of private companies and independent producers who have been aware of the severity of the disease. The aim is to achieve lower levels of pest infestation in a region where citriculture is an important source for the generation of jobs and therefore the economy of the area.

Along the same lines, the Costa Rican Electricity Institute has donated 400 forest trees for the replacement of backyard citrus trees that have been eradicated, as a form of collaboration with those families that have allowed the removal of backyard trees with a high infestation of the illness.

Since January of this year we have worked continuously on seeking out infections and raising the awareness of producers for the elimination of citrus affected by HLB, in order to minimize the impact of the disease on the crop.

"It is necessary to remind producers that in order to establish new citrus areas they must take the necessary precautions, such as obtaining plants from certified HLB free nurseries, and that are under a protected environment to ensure the activity's success, as well as mitigating the disease's impact on the crop.  It is also good to remember that, if anyone does discover symptoms of the disease, this should be communicated to officials of the State Plant Protection Service, as well as the Agency of Agricultural Services of the nearest MAG," said Gerardo Granados Araya, head of the Department of Regional Operations SFE.

In 2011, the presence of four trees with HLB in the north of the province of Alajuela was reported for the first time in the country, since then the management and control of the disease has been implemented.

This disease is spread through a vector insect (Diaphorina citri carrying the bacterium Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus), which when transported from one tree to another, either by flight or with the help of wind, causes the spread of the disease in the plantation.

The characteristic symptoms of the disease in plants are: leaves with patches of lighter green, thickening of the veins, yellowing of the branches, deformed fruits, stunted seeds, and, with this, the productive death of the plants in a maximum period of eight years, depending on the age and culture conditions.

More information:
Pilar Jiménez Quirós
Prensa SFE
Tel. 2549-3452/8650-5480

Publication date: 8/31/2017


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