Monday 9th April, 2018 –The Ministry of Agriculture will allow the importation of oranges from Florida to meet local demand.
The country depends heavily on Dominica for citrus but that was ceased due to the destruction caused to the agricultural industry in that country, following the passage of Hurricane Maria last year.
Agricultural experts have advised it will take another year before new plants will be able to produce citrus for export. To that end, the importation of oranges from Florida will be allowed. Permission has been given also for similar imports from St. Lucia.
Meantime, following consultations, it was agreed that hotels will be allowed to import royal palms but must quarantine the new plants for three months.
The disease lethal yellowing has wreaked havoc on palm trees and coconut plants since entering the country in 2007.
The pest traveled in the grass and sod which accompanied the palms, and their numbers have since affected more than 100,000 palms across Antigua. It has not had any effect in Barbuda, though Hurricane Irma decapitated thousands of coconut palms on the sister island.
If the royal palms are imported and are found to have the plant hopper pest during quarantine, the plants will be destroyed.