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JIS News

The Ministry of Agriculture and Lands has been implementing an aggressive prevention programme in Portland, to control the spread of the Pink Mealy Bug.
This bug, which was first discovered in the parish in June of this year, has proven to be extremely destructive to agricultural production.Crops particularly vulnerable to its effects include ornamentals, vegetation, sour sop, ackee, avocado and citrus.
Crawford Clarke, Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) Parish Manager for Portland, told JIS News that the programme involved the implementation of a number of measures, including the distribution of parasitic wasps to destroy the bug, and the introduction of a training programme to sensitize farmers in the parish about what to do when detection of the bug is suspected.
He pointed out that the bug was originally discovered in the districts of Islington, Commodore, Black Rock and Windsor Forest, and that it has now spread to a number of other communities.
Mr. Clarke noted that 10,000 parasitic wasps have already been disbursed in the communities in which the bug was originally identified, adding that an additional amount would subsequently be used in the other communities in which it has been identified.He explained that the training programme for the farmers was being conducted by research teams from the Bodles Agricultural Research Station and the Quarantine Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, with two seminars held so far in the communities of Long Bay and Commodore.
The Parish Manager added that a briefing session was also conducted by both research teams for the field staff of the Portland RADA Office to sensitize them about the steps to be taken to handle the bug when it is detected.
He stressed that RADA was committed to working closely with the farmers of Portland to eliminate the bug, and advised that farmers who suspect that the parasite is on their property, should immediately inform the Portland RADA Office at Folly Road in Port Antonio, so that the situation can be addressed in an appropriate manner.