Life for Citrus, the European project to protect citrus against the HLB

The Huanlongbing disease (HLB), also known as citrus greening, poses a serious threat to Spanish and European citrus growers dedicated to the production of these fruits. The lack of a cure for the disease in infected trees entails that the only control measures that can be used are phytosanitary treatments and the uprooting of trees. This, in addition to not being sustainable in the long term, has a huge environmental impact.

The HLB is a particularly serious threat to Mediterranean producers, which is why Asaja Malaga considers it a priority to work on the development of preventive measures against this disease. These must be environmentally-friendly and sustainable in the long term.

Life for Citrus
The European Life for Citrus project has been launched with the aim of protecting the citrus sector. The goal of the initiative is not only to obtain disease-resistant plants, but also to implement environmentally-friendly practices that can limit the development of the disease-transmitting vector and which also contribute to reducing the carbon footprint and climate change. The project also aims to develop a tool for the rapid detection of the disease, as this would greatly facilitate its control.

The LIFE program is the European Union's financing instrument for the environment and climate action created in 1992. The current 2014-2020 funding period has a budget of 3.4 billion Euro. It is subdivided into two subprograms, one for the environment and one, such as Life for Citrus, for climate change.

History of the pest
The African vector insect was first detected in Spain in 2014, specifically in Pontevedra. In a few years, it moved inland and south of Galicia, even reaching the Portuguese coast. In fact, it has been detected in Almada, about 200 km from the Algarve citrus area, bordering Huelva and Seville, which are two very important regions for Spanish citrus farming. The experience from other countries confirms that as soon as the insect adapts to the conditions of the region, it spreads quickly.



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