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East African citrus industry under threat

Diaphorina citri is a destructive plant-feeding insect of Chinese origin that is spreading across Africa. Recently, it was traced in two East African countries: Tanzania and Kenya. According to a study published in PlosOne journal, it is potentially jeopardising the citrus industry.

The insect transmits a bacterium that is associated with E disease known as Citrus Greening Disease which has been notorious for ruining several citrus industries in Asia and America in the past decade.

In East Africa, Tanzania is the third ranking citrus producing country after Kenya and Madagascar, with a total production of about 45,084 tons annually, according to the United Nation's Food and Agricultural Organisation(FA0). reports that Tanzanian researchers are now claiming that, although the insect exists in the country as per the recent study, no destruction to citrus production caused by its Citrus Greening Disease, has been significantly documented so far.

However, Mohamed Mpina, a senior research scientist in plant protection from the Tropical Pesticide Research Institute (TPRI) says, "Plans are underway to establish any potential risk. We are currently raising awareness among farmers."


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