Showcasing guadeloupean citrus and HLB researches at Bik’Agr’Innov’
CIRAD and Assofwi have once again highlighted their R&D activities to the profession and students of Guadeloupe, Caribbean, regarding citrus fruit production in face of Huanglongbing (HLB), also known as citrus greening. The public, very attached to this fruit production, showed great interest in the control methods and the new varieties of limes and rootstocks currently evaluated.
The Agricultural Innovation and Transfer Network (RITA) of Guadeloupe organised on February 4th of 2021 its first edition of the Bik’Agr’Innov’ event, intended to transmit knowledge, know-how and innovations in agroecology to the island’s (future) farmers. On this occasion, the Seapag team (CIRAD) and the Association of Fruit and Christophine Producers of Guadeloupe (Assofwi) joined forces to inform and alert citrus growers and private citrus enthusiasts to the seriousness of the HLB disease (origin of the symptoms, its spread by psyllids and human activities, socio-economic impacts, etc.). The work carried out within the framework of the Life ‘Vida for Citrus’ project, along with those of other UE-funded projects, have been highlighted during the events. In particular, the importance of this research efforts in European outermost regions for preparing the arrival of HLB in the Mediterranean Region, have been stressed, thus revalorising those regions as natural laboratories for experimenting innovative cultural practices and plant material. Those innovations, developed in recent years, in terms of new varieties (triploid lime trees, tolerant small citrus trees, tetraploid rootstocks, etc.) and appropriate cultural practices (grafting on healthy rootstocks, irrigation, fertilization, enhancement of auxiliary fauna and flora, mechanical management of grass cover), has been presented. They are already making it possible to set up sustainable production in Guadeloupe and offers hope for a renaissance of the Guadeloupean citrus sector.
The various communication actions on this theme comprised a stand with plant material, psyllids and various documentation, a short conference and a field demonstration of two innovative mechanical weed-cutting machines, alternatives to the traditional brush cutter