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Mealybugs putting Bermuda banana imports in jeopardy

Pest problems could lead to a shortage of bananas on Bermuda in the next few weeks. A spokeswoman for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources said yesterday that officials had worked with importers to tackle pest contaminations and the expensive inspection process needed to block the pests.

The problem started when a large number of bananas imported from South America and Central America in late 2018 were found to be infected with scale and mealybugs.

Walter Roban, Bermuda’s Minister of Home Affairs: “The number of live mealybug and mealybug eggs found was alarmingly high and posed a serious risk to Bermuda’s banana industry, lo cal crops and ornamental plants. The scale insect infestation was equally concerning as live scale and eggs were detected on all parts of the imported banana fruit.”

Roban added that the species of mealybug found on the bananas was not known in Bermuda. “Plant biosecurity is of paramount importance to any country to safeguard food security, sustainability of agricultural and horticultural production, and also protects the livelihood of farmers and landscapers.”

Royalgazette.com reported on the ministry spokeswoman saying how the government had discussed potential solutions with importers, such as a review of inspection techniques to ensure only clean shipments or an on-island system to treat incoming shipments.


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