The South African Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) has reported an outbreak of the Oriental fruit fly in the Grabouw area of the Western Cape Province.
In a statement issued on 19 February, the DAFF Early Warning Systems unit said the presence of the pest was confirmed by flies caught in surveillance traps between 31 January and 14 February.
“Growers, packing and processing facilities of host fruit material have been placed under quarantine and eradication initiated in a 25 km² area surrounding the detection point. Growers within the eradication area will have to apply for permits to remove produce for packing or to move produce outside the area, subject to phytosanitary conditions.”
The department said the commercial fruit under threat include mango, guava, citrus, papaya, apple, pear, apricot, peach, pear, cherry, grape, passion fruit, pepper, tomato and cucurbits.
“This pest can result in food insecurity, yield reduction, job losses, market restrictions and high production and post-harvest costs, if not effectively controlled. This pest can be controlled by practicing effective orchard/field sanitation, chemical and regulation of the removal of host material from quarantine (infested) areas to non-quarantine (non-infested) areas,” the department said.
In terms of the quarantine rules, all farmers, fruit traders and transporters are required to seek permits to move produce from quarantine to non-quarantine areas. The pest-infested provinces include Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, North West and Gauteng. The Eastern Cape, Free State, parts of the Western Cape and parts of KwaZulu-Natal are still free of the pest.