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Brazil: Insect-borne bacteria forces citrus growers to cut down trees

According to the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa), the presence of the insect Diaphorina citri, has the potential to cause the destruction of entire citrus orchards.

Brazilian citrus production consists of some 19.3 million tons of various varieties of orange, lemon and tangerines. About 86% of this production is exclusively oranges, which makes Brazil the largest global exporter. Then, 8% are lemons and 5% are tangerines.

“These fruits, grown on more than 688,000 hectares, face serious health challenges, which compromise production and quality. The psyllid is one of the main examples, as they suck the sap from trees, weakening them and are vectors of a serious disease, greening,” explains Júlio Borges Garcia, president of the National Union of Plant Defense Products Industry (Sindiveg).

Trees with signs of infection need to be constantly inspected, so that an early diagnosis can be made. As there is no treatment, infected plants must be eliminated from orchards.

The worsening of the disease made researchers from various parts of the world look to science for a solution to the problem. If there is still no treatment, there is, however, a method of prevention: the use of insecticides to control the psyllid. “Advanced and safe technologies are available to help farmers fight this insect”, highlights the president of Sindiveg.


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