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Training for prevention

Argentina: Blueberry producers worried about European grape vine moth

The new plague that could threaten the Argentine blueberry is called Lobesia botrana. Even though it still hasn't been detected in the region, it has been present in Argentina since 2010, affecting Cuyo's wine production. Due to its expansion towards other vine-producing areas, and the similarities in the type of production, blueberry producers from Mesopotamia decided to start implementing prevention strategies to guarantee the region's blueberry is free of that plague. There is a commitment by the provincial authorities to reinforce sanitary barriers.

The Lobesia botrana, first appeared in Mendoza in 2010. Its presence on vines can generate a very serious problem and cause tremendous damage, according to specialists.

8 years ago, this threat did not exist in our country, but since it was first detected in Mendoza in 2010, the different producing regions have been on the alert and are working to fight it.

"We believe the plague came with the vine harvesting machines that are brought from Europe. Europe has lived with it for more than 200 years. It wasn't in America until 2008, when it was detected in Chile. In 2009, it was detected in California, in the United States, and in 2010 in Mendoza, Argentina, where it has extended to other provinces, such as San Juan and Cafayate, Salta," stated Violeta Becerra, an agronomist from the Agricultural Experimental Station of INTA Mendoza.

Becerra arrived in Concordia, the productive heart of the Argentine blueberry, invited by the Association of Blueberry Producers of the Mesopotamia Argentina (APAMA), to dictate a training to partners and technicians; the first activity of the program to prevent the arrival of the plague to the region.

"We are getting ahead of the problems. We always say that the best investment in production is prevention, and that is what we do in APAMA, we train and prepare producers so that they aren't surprise by this plague," said Alejandro Pannunzio, the president of the producer entity.

"There isn't any damage in Concordia yet and that's why it's very important to prevent and raise awareness among producers. That's why we're here, to offer what we studied in Mendoza," added the specialist. More than 70 people attended the training, which was held at the headquarters of APAMA in Concordia and addressed existing official regulations; Morphological characteristics for the correct identification of the larva; Monitoring and predictions of the appearance of the pest; and Timely moments of control, among other issues.

Official support
Faced with this reality, authorities of APAMA requested the Secretary of Production of the province of Entre Rios, Alvaro Gabas, the state's collaboration to prevent the entrance of the plague to the area. The official promised to reinforce controls and sanitary barriers to ensure that the fruit from the Cuyo area - the main productive pole affected by Lobesia Botrana - does not enter the Mesopotamian region without the corresponding enabling certificates.

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