Expert reviews melon fly control project- . Boat owners asked not carry infested fruits


The meeting at the SFA training room

Serge Quilici from Cirad La Reunion was on a one-week mission in Seychelles to support an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) technical corporation project being carried out locally.

IAEA is helping Seychelles in three ways – with experts, resources to help with research work in the agricultural sector and with the training of local technicians.

The project is entitled Enhancing the melon fruit area-wide integrated pest management programme using sterile insect technique to improve national food security.

It aims to suppress the melon fruit fly species in the country and to restore optimal production of cucurbit crops so as to contribute towards the improvement of the national food security.
As part of his mission, Mr Quilici reviewed the melon fly surveillance activities and helped the local project team to improve it.

The team – along with Mr Quilici – visited surveillance and monitoring sites on Mahe, Praslin and La Digue for the review.
He was also involved in the supervision of the development of the strategic field operation activities.

An area-wide suppression programme is being carried out in the effort to prevent new fruit fly species being introduced in the country and to control the melon fruit fly.
This includes trap monitoring on Mahe, sanitation practices, pheromone block application and bait spray at farm level and backyards.
Mr Quilici said the project is on the right track but there are some points which are at risks in the country.

He briefed the local team on his mission and findings last week during a session held at the Seychelles Fishing Authority training room.
During his visit, he also helped with technical expertise in regards to the newly introduced papaya mealy bug.

Mr Quicili said this is a regional issue as other countries in the Indian Ocean such as Reunion, Comoros and Mauritius.

He added that the situation is alarming as the bug which originates from Central America, has greatly affected papaya trees and several other plants.
Mr Quilici said there is a need for more awareness campaigns in relation to the bug and what should be done.

Discussions were also held whereby they talked about new strategies, methods and products that can be used to control the bug.

The principal officer at the National Plant Protection office of the Seychelles Agricultural Agency Randy Stravens said since the introduction of this bug, site visits have been conducted and help has been given to those being affected by this pest.

Mr Stravens said the papaya mealy bug has been seen not only on Mahe but also on Praslin and La Digue.

He is therefore calling on boat owners and island managers not to allow members of the public to transport infested plants to the other islands.

“We are also calling on members of the public to follow procedures and regulations which are in place,” he said.

Mr Stravens added that papaya growers are being encouraged to use Lastraw, a bio product, which can also be used on other plants which are being affected by the papaya mealy bug.