Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 23, 2019 (SKNIS): Minister of Agriculture, the Honourable Eugene Hamilton, has urged residents and citizens to help protect crop production in St. Kitts and Nevis from pests such as the Mediterranean Fruit Fly.

The pest is considered by the United States Department of Agriculture as “the most important agricultural pest in the world. The Carambola Fruit Fly is also high on the watch list of the local Ministry of Agriculture. Both species can be imported into St. Kitts and Nevis by persons who bring undeclared fruits, plants, or vegetables into the twin-island federation.

To help protect against the spread of the Mediterranean Fruit Fly or Medifly as it is popularly known, and the Carambola Fruit Fly, government implemented a robust surveillance programme.

Fruit fly traps placed in plants/trees were established at ports of entry – the Deep-Water Port; the Basseterre Ferry Terminal, the R. L. Bradshaw International Airport and Port Zante – to monitor for the Mediterranean Fruit Fly and other pests. The plants/trees attract pests “like a magnet” allowing officials to monitor for any infestation.

Minister Hamilton noted that at the Basseterre Ferry Terminal, in particular, persons would interfere with the traps and destroy them.

“It is an important agriculture surveillance method to prevent our nation-state from being [overridden] by pests that are not supposed to be in this country …,” the minister stated. “So those persons when you go, and you see those traps – it is a yellow thing – don’t destroy them for goodness sake. You are helping to ruin the health of our crops.”