$354 Million for World Screwworm Eradication Project

The Eradication of New World Screwworm Project in the Ministry of Agriculture has received a $354 million allocation in the 2008/09 Estimates of Expenditure, currently before the House of Representatives.
The project seeks to eradicate the New World Screwworm, an insect which causes destructive myiasis (infestation of tissue) in warm blooded animals, and humans. Eradication is expected to be achieved through the utilization of the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT), supported by prevention, control, and quarantine measures, which should result in increased food production. The project, which commenced in July 1998, and has been extended on several occasions since, will be further extended to December 2008.
As at December 2007, the project has seen approximately 13.6 billion sterile screwworm pupae being purchased and processed, from which some 10.3 billion sterile screwworm flies were dispersed. Additionally, over 2.2 million packets of insecticide and sample collection tubes have been distributed; fly trapping and egg mass collection activities conducted islandwide, and the chilled fly unit overhauled to facilitate greater efficiency.
These activities have been augmented through the undertaking of a series of public education initiatives, incorporating radio and television advertisements; distribution of over 965,000 flyers and pamphlets targeting specific groups, and participation of personnel in agricultural shows, such as Denbigh and Minard, among others.
It is anticipated that for 2008/09, the processing and distribution of sterile flies, totalling some 24 million, public awareness campaign through the print and electronic media, and field and insecticide distribution activities, will continue across the island. Additionally, the eradication process will continue, thereby enabling the country to become screwworm free.
The project will be jointly funded by the Government and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

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