Tue | Jul 23, 2024

St Kitts facing disease outbreak of mango trees

Published:Friday | May 31, 2024 | 6:28 PM
CMC photo.

BASSSETERRE, St Kitts, CMC – Agricultural officials in St Kitts say they are closely monitoring the outbreak of a disease affecting mango trees on the twin-island federation.

“We understand the significant impact this issue has on local agriculture, and we are making every effort to identify the cause and develop an effective treatment plan,” the Plant Quarantine Unit at the Department of Agriculture said in a statement.

It said that the team of plant health experts has been working “diligently” to diagnose the disease affecting the mango trees and that initial assessments indicate that the symptoms are consistent with anthracnose, a fungal disease that can severely impact mango fruit production and quality.

“However, the exact cause of the disease is currently unknown, and experts are actively investigating its origin, transmission, and potential control measures.”

The unit said that initial assessments suggest that the disease may be caused by a combination of environmental factors, pathogens, and possibly new strains of pests and that farmers are urged to remain vigilant and report any suspected cases of the disease to their local agricultural authorities for further investigation.

Upon confirming the disease, the unit will implement a comprehensive treatment plan to address the outbreak.

It said the plan will involve a multi-pronged approach, including conducting extensive surveys to determine the extent of the disease's spread, implementing targeted fungicide applications to control the fungal pathogen, and providing guidance and support to local mango growers on best management practices.

It said that the plan would also explore long-term solutions such as the introduction of disease-resistant mango varieties and that in the meantime several precautionary measures can be taken to mitigate the spread of the disease, including quarantine infected areas to prevent the spread of the disease to unaffected areas and pruning affected areas.

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