100 Percent Biological Control For Mandarin Farmers

Thursday, February 1st, 2018 | 1011 Views

Environmental farming has been taking strides and can now be 100 percent biologically controlled for mandarin farmers.

One of the biggest challenges to citrus growers is the Mediterranean fruit fly (Medfly), which increases in number in farmed orchards as the fruit deteriorated.

To counteract this, Israel’s Plant Production and Marketing Board (PPMB) has announced the launch of Orri Jaffa, an easy peeler mandarin, fully protected using biological controls. It will be on show at Fruit Logistica, from February 7-9 at The Cube, in Berlin.

The Jaffa brand of Israeli citrus has always stood for high quality fruit and complete safety,” says Tal Amit, head of the citrus division at PPMB. “Orri Jaffa is now cultivated under the finest green standards as well as being in full control of its supply chain.”

Of course, citrus farms already carry a number of natural enemies keeping the pest population at bay and the mission of The Israel Cohen Institute for Biological Control (ICIBC) at PPMB is to ensure that the citrus orchards minimize pest control and use eco-friendly measures.

To ensure that orchards remain sustainable and make the most of the natural enemies of the citrus pests, targeted intervention is required to keep the eco-system in balance.  To do this around 11,000 hectares, almost 70 percent of the orchard, is sprayed with natural, food based baits, luring the Medfly to biological insecticides.  This process meets the environmental criteria of spraying at ultra-low volumes (ULV) as approved by global organic organizations. Around 20 percent of the orchards, are located near urban area or water sources, the method used here involves alternating bait spraying with the use of bait stations.

In around 10 percent of orchards, an advanced insecticide free control is used, such as the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT). This involves release of factory bred sterile male Medflies who mate with the wild females, causing the population to drop. Another method involves mating disruption (MD) for moths, which uses synthetic sex pheromones confusing the locality of the targeted species and so reproduction

Medfly can also threat countries where it is considered a quarantine pest and to combat this, phytosanitary measures are now being used. Here, the exported citrus fruits undergo an environmentally friendly cold treatment in which the fruit is stored in sub-freezing temperatures for around two to three weeks, to eliminate any chance of introducing living pests to the import country.

PPMB along with ICIBC are today using a reliable monitoring system and accurate Geographical Information System (GIS) which precisely uses pest control only where it is needed.

“Since we take full responsibility for this biological pest control, we are able to ensure transparency and more importantly, traceability of the supply chain from farm to retailer and so keep it safe,” explains Amit. “We decide how and when, and exactly what method to use each time, for protecting the oranges from fruit flies”.

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