Press release 281/2008
(11 September 2008)


(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana) The decision of Caribbean Plant Health Directors to adopt a coordinated approach for dealing with plant pests has started to bear fruit with the formation and Meeting of Technical Working Groups (TWGs) on plant pests that are of particular concern to the Caribbean.

Two such TWGs will have their inaugural meeting in Guyana September 16-18. The Groups that are scheduled to meet are those on Fruit Fly and the Red Palm Mite. Already the Group on the Giant African Snail has had its first meeting and its Terms of Reference (TOR) will be used to guide the meetings of other Working Groups.

The meeting of the two Working Groups comes at a time when exporters of tropical fruits are expressing growing concern over the Fruit Fly which affects just about every tropical fruit. The deliberations of the Red Palm Mite Working Group are also of particular interest, given the continued destruction of palm, including coconuts in 12 Caribbean countries where the Red Palm Mite has planted root.

With assistance from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS), the CARICOM Secretariat convened the inaugural Meeting of the Plant Health Directors in Georgetown, Guyana in April 2008, it was agreed that there was need to establish several Technical Working Groups to address the issues relating to various pests of importance to the Region. At the Meeting, Member States indicated their specific interest in joining the Working Groups. As a result, Working Groups on Coconut Palm Complex, Red Palm Mite, Giant African Snail, Fruit Flies, Lethal Yellowing and the Banana Leaf Curl Virus were constituted.

It is expected that these Groups will investigate and advice on all relevant matters related to pests and at times make recommendations for the consideration of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED).


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