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US (CA): Disagreement over use of methyl iodideStrawberries currently rank as the most important fruit produced in Monterey county, with gross revenues of $751 million on around 10,000 acres in 2010. The loss of this industry would be devastating to the area's economy.
The size of the crop, according to some, is reliant upon permitted use of methyl iodide. Advocates claim that, not only would the local economy be harmed with a reduced crop, but also by the resultant unemployment - harvesting strawberries is very labour intensive.
However, anti-pesticide groups and farmworker advocates have launched an effort to block the fumigant methyl iodide on strawberry fields, to replace methyl bromide, which was deemed unsafe.
The alternative to fumigants is use of organic methods such as crop rotation, green manure, compost and biological pest control.
Methyl iodide is currently permitted to be used in 47 other states, but California has more stringent safety legislation than others.
Publication date: 1/30/2012
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