Collaborative Approach to Addressing the Leaf Beetle Incursion

The Agriculture Department recently convened a half-day workshop at the Backstage Restaurant and Lounge in Roche Caiman on March 5th. Bringing together representatives from Pest Control companies and officials from Health and Community Development, the workshop aimed to foster collaborative discussions on strategies to manage and control the infestation of the “Golden Apple Leaf Beetle” across the country.

Mr. Keven Nancy, PS Agriculture Department (AD), delivered the workshop’s opening remarks, emphasizing the Department’s responsibility in managing pest and disease incursions, coordinating emergency responses, and highlighting the pivotal role of private controllers in supporting these efforts.

Providing a comprehensive update on the status of the “Golden Apple Leaf Beetle,” Mr. Roy Govinden, Chief Officer for the Plant and Crop Plant Health Section, outlined the Department’s ongoing efforts since the beetle’s initial sighting in Bel Air in November 2023. He noted a total of 528 reported cases across 20 districts on Mahe Island, with Anse Etoile, Beau Vallon, and English River recording the highest number of complaints. However, prompt measures by the Border Control section prevented the pest from spreading to the Inner and Outer islands.

Despite challenges such as spare parts availability for fogger repairs and adverse weather affecting fogging programs, significant progress has been made in treating affected golden apple trees. Mr. Govinden highlighted cultural methods for public adoption, including controlled burning of debris and physical removal of beetles, larvae, or eggs, along with the use of household insecticidal sprays like “Doom.”

Reassuring participants, the Department clarified that the leaf beetle poses no direct threat to livestock or human health, primarily targeting golden apple trees as a foliar feeder. Plans for future training involving additional stakeholders aim to enhance collaborative efforts and share best practices in addressing this new pest.

All present Pest Control agents expressed their readiness to support the Agriculture Department in managing and controlling the pest. Consequently, members of the public will have the option to engage private pest companies for urgent control measures on their private properties affected by the “golden apple leaf beetle.”

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