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Turkey: Citrus producers in Adana win struggle against Mediterranean Fruit Fly

Adana, a city located in southern Turkey, has managed to overturn the damage cause by the Mediterranean Fruit Fly. According to a well known local farmer and a former councillor, Adana is the only city which has succeeded in its fight against the Mediterranean Fruit Fly.

Recently, Russia sent back some citrus products back to Turkey due to the Mediterranean Fruit Fly. However, it was confirmed that none of these products originated from Adana.

Kutlu Sonmez, former city councillor of Adana and a well known farmer in the city talked to DUNYA newspaper and explained the details of the successful pest control in citrus orchards in Adana against the Mediterranean Fruit Fly.

In 2018, farmers in Cukurova area witnessed a great damage due to the Mediterranean Fruit Fly in many products such as peaches, cherries, plums, apples and pears, said Sonmez and explained: "The Mediterranean Fruit Fly started to leave "dents" on these fruit trees. 90% of stone fruits could not be harvested. All of them have been destroyed."

Citrus producers who witnessed this asked Huseyin Sozlu, the then Governor of Adana, support to protect their citrus orchards from this.

"Huseyin Sozlu appointed me for this task and told me that we can use all the resources of the municipality in order to help farmers. We alerted the Provincial Directorates of Agriculture and warned them against the Mediterranean Fruit Fly. They applied pesticides in chicken, sheep and cow barns where the Mediterranean Fruit Fly multiplies. The spraying started in mid-July and continued until October." said Sonmez.

None of the returned products originated from Adana
The global tolerance ratio in the population of the Mediterranean Fruit Fly is maximum 11%. Adana managed to lower this down to 9%, said Sonmez and continued: "2018 was a year of no damage. This year, we have detected a rise in the population of the Mediterranean Fruit Fly. Therefore, we decided to repeat the pest control. Adana Governorship gave the necessary instructions, the municipality continued its support. Besides the Farmers Association and Citrus Growers' Association collaborated and pest control started again in June."

Kutlu Sonmez contended that in all cities except Adana, the Mediterranean Fruit Fly is overpopulated and he said: "This year, damaged fruits are sent back to Turkey. The export countries don't want this disease to spread in their countries, therefore they send the products back. The Mediterranean Fruit Fly has the potential to damage 100 varieties of products. As far as we know, all cities have this problem, only the products from Adana are free of the Mediterranean Fruit Fly."

Whatsapp group for pest control
Sonmez said that they even started a Whatsapp group in order to communicate about the pest control against the Mediterranean Fruit Fly. The group members were farmers at first, then authorities from the Provincial Directorate of Agriculture, mayors and finally Governor Demirtas participated in this Whatsapp group. In this way, Sonmez contended, the project succeeded.


Source: Dunya (Eray Sen)

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