A few days ago, the Minister of Agriculture, Mireia Mollà, visited the fields in Sagunto where researchers were testing a classic treatment that has already shown high efficacy if applied correctly against the cotonet pest that affects citrus, the Generalitat stated. The treatment consists of applying paraffinic mineral oil to the tree; a sustainable and authorized substance that in contact with the insect undoes its wax layer and dehydrates it.
Mollà highlighted the various lines of work that the Ministry was leading to stop the spread of the plague and to redouble efforts aimed at overcoming this issue in the citrus sector. She also reiterated the request for funds to the Ministry of Agriculture to increase pressure on this type of pests.
So far this year, the Ministry has invested 5.5 million euro in the fight against imported pests, 1.7 million of which were allocated to the recent release of 2 million specimens of the Cryptolaemus montrouzieri predator, she said.
As detailed by the Generalitat, the new strategy stems from the tests undertaken by the Valencian Institute of Agrarian Research (IVIA) to favor phytosanitary measures for post-harvest disinfection of boxes, pallets, and packaging, included in the recommendations of the resolution issued on August 12 by the General Directorate of Agriculture.
Researchers from the organization confirmed the efficacy of paraffinic mineral oil on the insect and decided to carry out tests on a plot in Sagunto, in collaboration with Fontestad, to verify the results on the field.
“The treatment wasn't tested at the optimal time –i.e. in the month of May when we can find the most sensitive forms– but the results are encouraging and it could complement the different fighting strategies compatible with European obligations,” stated Rodolfo Canet, the director of the IVIA.
"Our goal is to continue to provide the sector with efficient, sustainable tools that meet the demands of the European market to combat the cotonet pest," stated Minister Mollà. These tools will have to be recognized and compensated by the Government, as they have an impact for the benefit of the entire agricultural sector, she added.