Oriental fruit flies in Zambezi

The importation of mangoes from Zambia has been banned following the detection of oriental fruit flies in the Zambezi Region.

15 January 2020 | Agriculture

Oriental fruit flies have been detected in the Zambezi Region, resulting in strict control measures being implemented on the import of mangoes from Zambia to Namibia.

According to a statement issued by the agriculture ministry, based on information-sharing with neighbouring countries and evidence at hand, the oriental fruit fly in the Zambezi Region is anticipated to have spread from Zambia.

“This is due to the direct linkage and movement of animals, insects and people between countries.”

The ministry said, against this background, it has implemented control measures to avoid the spread of the oriental fruit fly through mango fruits in the Zambezi Region to other parts of the country.

The statement followed after outrage from fruit traders in the Zambezi Region over the apparent ban.

An internal directive was recently issued stating that it was brought to the attention of the ministry that there are traders importing mangoes from Zambia into Namibia through the Wenela border post.

Spokesperson of the agriculture ministry Jona Musheko told Namibian Sun that the control measures are to ensure that mangoes imported are not from certain areas where the oriental fruit fly is present.

According to the ministry, the spread of the oriental fruit fly (Bactrocera dorsalis) in Namibia has the potential to negatively affect the export of fruits and vegetables to international markets. “Namibia currently enjoys the international recognition of oriental fruit fly-free status in most of its regions, hence its ability to export to international markets.”

The statement said that the ministry, through its division of plant health, is responsible for the control and prevention of plant pests and diseases which or could affect Namibia's agricultural products and the trade thereof.

The ministry is guided by the Plant Quarantine Act. According to the ministry, the oriental fruit fly is a destructive pest which infests fruits and causes huge crop losses.

“It is a pest of economic importance in Namibia as it has an impact on the trade of fruits and vegetables.”

The ministry said that since the oriental fruit fly is classified as 'quarantine pests/insects', it is highly restricted.

Namibia produces export commodities such as table grapes, watermelon, butternuts and vegetables.

If a consignment of commodities containing even a single fruit infested with the larvae of the oriental fruit fly is exported to an international market such as Europe, the entire consignment will be rejected and destroyed – at the expense of the exporting country.

“It is therefore critical for the government, through the ministry, to maintain the agriculture sector free from any plant or animal diseases or pests, most especially those of economic importance.”

The ministry urged the public to cooperate with law-enforcement officials.

ELLANIE SMIT

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