The action comes in response to the presence of the Mediterranean fruit fly recently found on the DR, and the Department of Agriculture (DOA) is taking no chances with the “agricultural landscape” of St. Kitts and Nevis.
Speaking with this publication, DOA Quarantine Officer Jeanelle Kelly said the ban is a temporary restriction that the Department of Agriculture has implemented, in order to protect the agricultural production in the Federation.
“This is a pre-border mitigation measure to ensure that we don’t introduce the exotic pest to St. Kitts and Nevis,” said Kelly.
St. Kitts and Nevis is not known to have the Mediterranean fruit fly, according to the quarantine officer, however, the West Indian fruit fly is here in the Federation, she disclosed.
“The Mediterranean fruit fly is considered an invasive alien species, meaning that it is a non-native harmful pest,” she noted. “We are trying our best not to have it introduced into the country, because the pest is known to destroy over 250 types of plants,” Kelly revealed.
The ban came into effect on the 9th April, and the agriculture department staff told Miyvue.com that information has been disseminated to the necessary stakeholders about the restriction.
She indicated that the restriction “will remain in effect until the Dominican Republic can show successfully plant health measures are employed to control and or eradicate the pest”.
The University of Florida described the Mediterranean fruit fly as “one of the world’s most destructive fruit pests”. According to the university pest control information, “When it has been detected in Florida, California and Texas, especially in recent years, each infestation necessitated intensive and massive eradication and detection procedures so that the pest did not become established.”