The Institute is one of 13 partners from four countries sharing experiences and research within the framework of ‘Life for Citrus’.
The Department of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Sustainable Development, through the Institute of Research and Formación Agraria y Pesquera de Andalucía (IFAPA), participates in the project international ‘Life Vida for Citrus’ directed to protect the citrus sector from Huanglongbing disease (HLB), also known as ‘Citrus Greening’. This initiative, which also for implementing environmentally friendly cultivation practices, arises in response to the threat posed to these crops by the presence of Trioza erytreae in Europe, as it is an HLB vector that could spread the disease in the event of any outbreaks on the mainland. The scope of action of Life Vida for Citrus’ comprises four countries (Portugal, France, Italy and Spain) and for its development counts on the collaboration of a total of 13 partners. In addition to the Junta de Andalucía, the following are cooperating in this initiative Agrarian Association of Young Farmers (Asaja) of Malaga and at National, the Valencian Association of Farmers (AVA-Asaja), the City of Seville, the Canary Islands Institute of Agricultural Research (ICIA), the Valencian Institute for Agricultural Research (IVIA), the Centre for International Cooperation in Agricultural Research for Development France (CIRAD) and the National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) of same country. In addition, Agrimarba SL, Universidade do Algarve and Valenciagro – Produção Frutícola Unipessoal LDA (Portugal), and Università Degli Studi di Catania (Italy).
HLB disease, caused by Candidatus bacteria Liberibacter spp, can be transmitted through the vectors Diaphorina citri and Trioza erytreae. This The last insect, also known as the African citrus psyllid, was first detected in the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula in 2014 and is currently present in the area of influence of Lisbon (Portugal), about 200 kilometers of the main citrus plantations of the Portuguese and Huelva Algarve. At this moment there is no focus of Citrus greening’ in Europe but poses a threat to citrus farms on the mainland given their ability to affect the profitability of the plantations. This disease has no known cure and the current means of control carried out in production regions that are have been affected by the bacteria, have a high economic and environmental cost incompatible with Europe’s production systems.
Among the concrete objectives of ‘Life Vida for Citrus’ is the development of an early diagnostic kit for disease and the evaluation of new citrus patterns under conditions Mediterranean soil and climate conditions to achieve a better adaptation and resilience of the plantations. It also aims to evaluate the effectiveness techniques aimed at vector control and improving the ecosystem (plant, soil and biodiversity), create a replicable model for European citrus producers and to promote international cooperation in the prevention and control of HLB disease and insects capable of spread it. The project has started with a training action and the setting up of of technical actions carried out to date by the various partners in the field of identification, monitoring and control of HLB vectors. We have also shared actions set in motion to the management of covers and hedges and other actions related to the improvement of production, soil health and fertilization. Subsequently, the members of the research group have proceeded to implement various cultural practices in the demonstration plots where it will be possible to observe the influence of the different soil-climate scenarios in the Mediterranean, already that the land is located in four different countries.
In order to facilitate access to information about the project by all interested parties, a website has been set up to provide details about the evolution of ‘Life for Citrus’. The LIFE Programme is the only financial instrument of the European Union exclusively dedicated to the environment. Its overall objective for the period 2004-2020 is to contribute to sustainable development and to the achievement of the objectives and targets of the Europe 2020 strategy and the relevant EU environment and climate strategies and plans.
Fuente: Junta de Andalucía