Tobago is battling Citrus Greening disease, which reduces yields and compromises the flavour, colour and the size of the citrus fruit before killing the citrus tree.
Citrus Greening Disease also known as Citrus Huanglongbing (HLB) presents the greatest threat to the citrus industry in Trinidad and Tobago (TT); 1,200 acres. HLB, caused by an insect spread bacterial infection, affects all types of citrus and has now been confirmed in many parts of Trinidad. It has devastated millions of citrus orchards in Asia, America and the Caribbean, notably Jamaica and Belize.
Hence the launch today (September 11) of a Public Awareness Citrus Huanglongbing (HLB) Campaign by the Agriculture Ministry in concert with the Office of the Prime Minister and the Tobago House of Assembly.
The ministry said "the campaign will include surveillance operations to determine levels of HLB pathogenicity in the island, training in new nursery management protocols and best management practices for citrus greening."
Cabinet recently approved the declaration of the disease as a reportable disease, making it mandatory that its presence be reported to the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries.
As part of a national strategic plan to curb Citrus Greening disease in TT, the Research Division of the ministry has conducted surveillance and delimiting surveys to determine the extent and spread of the disease and has also established modalities to reduce or eradicate spread of this dreaded disease.
In keeping Tobago green and agriculturally productive, similar programs will be conducted on the island to monitor and eradicate the Giant African Snail populations and the Cocoa Frosty Pod Rot disease.