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Honduras: Whiteflies cause huge losses in melon

Melon crops are being attacked by whiteflies, which will result in huge losses for this productive sector in Honduras.

The highest incidence is recorded in Choluteca and the pest has been exacerbated by the widespread drought.

On Tuesday, Jacobo Paz, Secretary of Agriculture, said that, after meeting with producers and exporters, they had made the decision that the National Agricultural Health Service (SENASA) adopt a legislation to eliminate the hosts immediately after the 2015- 2016 harvest.

He added that it was important to remove all the waste, such as contaminated melons and leaves, which are serving as hosts for the insect. Paz said the whiteflies pest was natural and it developed easily under the right conditions.

He stated that if they took appropriate action, the melon crops would be free of this pest in the next harvest, which will begin in September 2016 and end in May 2017.

The head of the SAG said he didn't know how much area had been lost to the whitefly, but this media learned that the affected area may range from 300 to 350 hectares.

Apple production, which has decreased from 2015 because of the extensive summer that causes viral disease, one of the virus' that attacks this fruit, stands between 800 and 850 boxes.

Given these figures, losses can range between 240,000 and 297,500 boxes. Paz said that there were still 10 days to the end of the second harvest cycle.

The official said it was important to eradicate the whitefly in melon because some countries, including Japan, which is one of the nations that has shown interest in importing some varieties, are blocking the access to this fruit. The melon is presented in boxes that can weigh between 10 to 13 kilograms, depending on the origin of exports. Usually, the boxes have four, five, six, or seven units.


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