The Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation (Minagri) has reported that the National Agricultural Health Service (Senasa) has increased its actions to prevent the entry of the Huanglongbing or yellow dragon plague, which affects citrus production, into Peru. These measures were implemented especially in the departments of Tumbes and Piura, where Senasa has launched a high sensitivity phytosanitary surveillance for the early detection of the Diaphorina citri transmitter insect, which also includes urban areas.
Preventative actions include the strengthening of quarantine in high-risk areas. Between January and September 2019, authorities seized 1,046 products of plant origin between Piura and Tumbes that did not have the corresponding phytosanitary certification. 835 products and by-products of plant origin were seized in Tumbes and 211 products were seized in Piura. In addition, 12 shipments were sent back.
Even though the Yellow Dragon disease has not been detected in Peru yet, Senasa has carried out 102 operations in Tumbes during the year, mainly in the Pan-American North, and two joint mega-operatives with the participation of Sunat, Sutran, and Serfor to prevent the plague from entering the country. In Piura, they carried out 3 operations at border control posts with Ecuador. In addition, Ecuador and Peru conducted a joint operation following the agreement assumed in the Binational Commission to Combat Smuggling.
Training and phytosanitary surveillance
At the moment, Senasa has trained more than 2,800 citizens from Piura and Tumbes on prevention and control measures to prevent the entry of the yellow dragon and its vector Diaphorina citri into the country. They have taught them about the plague's characteristics, hosts, as well as how this plague, for which there is a high risk as it is present in Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay, could damage and affect the country.
Phytosanitary surveillance of high sensitivity includes the permanent monitoring of production areas and host plants (murraya and citrus) in courtyards and backyards. In addition, authorities have installed a trapping network in risk areas.
According to estimates, if the plague entered the country, it would generate losses of 455 million soles, even with a phytosanitary program, and would cause a nationwide crisis. In addition, there would be cost overruns of 20% in lime, 25% in mandarines, and 30% in oranges.