The government wants to eradicate the insect ‘Trioza erytreae’, which causes the citrus pest, and has determined the duty to inform the authorities and the ‘cutting of infected branches, destruction by fire, crushing or burial’ by non-professional operators.
According to the new rules that come into force on Thursday, “any owner, user or lessee of host plants, as well as any professional operator producing or marketing host plant material”, who has “knowledge or suspicion of the presence of the insect, must immediately inform the plant health inspection services of the respective Regional Directorate of Agriculture and Fisheries (DRAP) or the Directorate General of Food and Veterinary Affairs (DGAV)”.
With measures aimed at those who are not “professional operators”, the ordinance provides for “the immediate cutting of infested branches and the destruction of plant debris by fire, crushing or burial on site” if “symptoms of trioza erytreae” are detected, while in the demarcated areas the obligation is to “uproot and destroy” the host plants. “Following the identification of the first outbreaks of ‘Trioza erytreae’ in mainland Portugal, in the region of Porto, as a result of the official surveys conducted annually, immediate measures were taken”, but “the dispersion of the insect in recent years makes it necessary to adopt additional measures”, is justified in the Dominican Republic. According to the ordinance, non-professional operators are still prohibited from “moving any plant or part of a host plant off site, except fruits and seeds”. Non-professionals in the demarcated areas must also “carry out phytosanitary treatments with authorized phytosanitary products, a list of which is available on the DGAV website”. They must also ‘keep a record of the treatments carried out, in particular the products used, the doses and the dates of application’.
According to the ordinance, “DRAPs, under the coordination of the DGAV, conduct a national survey each year that must include plant protection measures, such as visual inspections, placement of traps to capture ‘Trioza erytreae’ and collection of samples”, i.e. in orchards, gardens, parks and public areas where there are host plants. In the case of official confirmation of the presence of Del Guercio Trioza erytreae, ‘a demarcated area, consisting of the parish in which the insects were detected, considered as an infested area, and a buffer zone of about three kilometres radius, established from the boundaries of the infested parishes, is immediately defined’. Professional operators, in particular producers and suppliers of host plants, whose place of business is covered by a demarcated area, may sell or dispatch host plants only if certain conditions are met. According to the ordinance, the sale or dispatch is conditional on ‘the production or maintenance of the plants, for at least one year, in insect-proof locations that prevent the introduction of ‘Trioza erytreae’ […] subject to at least two official inspections per year during the production cycle’. In addition, ‘the transport, receipt or dispatch of the plants’ must be ‘in closed containers or packages, so as to ensure that insect infestation cannot occur along the route within the demarcated area’.