State agricultural emergency declared in Florida
The Oriental Fruit Fly is considered one of the most serious of the world's fruit fly pests due to its potential economic harm. It attacks more than 430 different fruits, vegetables and nuts, including: avocado, mango, mamey, loquat, lychee, longon, dragon fruit, guava, papaya, sapodilla, banana and annona.
The fruit flies lay their eggs in host fruits and vegetables. Since the first detection of the Oriental Fruit Fly on August 26, 2015 in Miami-Dade County, a total of 158 flies have been detected, specifically in the Redland area (156), Kendall (1) and Miami (1).
“The Oriental Fruit Fly is one of the world's most destructive pests and poses a significant threat to Florida's $123 billion agriculture industry and the two million jobs it supports. Miami-Dade County's agriculture industry is a $1.6 billion industry, and we will use every weapon in our arsenal that's necessary to eradicate this pest and protect Florida agriculture and our economy,” stated Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam.
The infestation threatens the area's ability to produce the fruit and vegetables the nation has grown to rely on during the winter months, the region's overall economic health and the thousands of jobs that rely on this industry.
Miami-Dade County is the state's leader in the production of tropical vegetables, tropical fruit and ornamental nurseries, and overall agricultural production generates more than $1.6 billion in annual economic impact and supports more than 11,000 jobs.
All appropriate protocols are in place and that the fruits and vegetables introduced into the marketplace from this area are certified for movement and safe for consumption by the public. ■