Clarendon Citrus Farmers Urged To Join Replanting Process


Citrus farmers in Clarendon are being encouraged to join the replanting process to reduce the impact of the tristeza virus on local stock.
Alfred Barrett, Assistant Programme Manager at the Citrus Protection Agency in the Ministry of Agriculture told some 40 farmers in Clarendon that a survey done in 1999 to determine the effect of the virus on citrus trees, showed they had not been severely affected. However, he said in recent months, there was increasing evidence that a number of farms were now under threat.
He was speaking at a meeting held at the Chapelton All-age School on Saturday February 14.
“If you are going to replant your citrus grove which many of you in Clarendon have to do, its best to do it now. It’s just a matter of time before tristeza really hits home where you are,” he said.
Mr. Barrett emphasized that citrus rootstock that was resistant to tristeza such as swingle citrumelo, Carrizo citrange, and cleopatra mandarin, which could only be obtained from certified nurseries should be used.
He also said that the budwood that was used to bud the plant should be clean and free from virus, noting that varieties such as sour orange and hog shaddock were susceptible to the tristeza virus and should not be used.
Coordinator of the Citrus Replanting Project, Dr. Florence Young said that the meeting was part of a comprehensive public education programme to foster an awareness of the effects of tristeza disease on the citrus industry and the need to replant citrus.
Meetings are also planned for other citrus producing parishes including Manchester, St. Catherine and St. Mary, over the next six months.
The Citrus replanting project began in 2001 through a Government of Jamaica/Caribbean Development Bank initiative at cost of about US$20.45 million.
The main objective of the project is the replanting of 2,833 hectares of citrus in the next five years in order to stave off the serious threat posed by the citrus tristeza virus.

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