|Dr. Liburd (far right) meeting with researchers |
from the agricultural research center
One of the key organizations in the greenhouse sector is the Cluster de Invernaderos de Jarabacoa, or the Jarabacoa Greenhouse Cluster. The Jarabacoa Greenhouse Cluster was established in 2002 and is comprised of over 100 member farmers in the Jarabacoa region who produce vegetables such as peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, and eggplant for local consumption and for export. The Jarabacoa Greenhouse Cluster offers technical assistance to its members on topics such as credit management, best management practices, business management, etc. They also help members identify and access new market opportunities.
Recently, however, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service detected the presence of the Mediterranean Fruit Fly (Ceratitis capitata), or medfly for short, in the eastern part of the country. The medfly is capable of causing extensive damage to a wide range of fruit, flower, and vegetable crops. In 2015, the DR lost an estimated US$50 million in vegetable production due to the presence of the medfly. As a result, the Jarabacoa Greenhouse Cluster requested the assistance of a Farmer-to-Farmer volunteer to train technicians and farmers on how to identify the medfly, take precautions to prevent the medfly from entering greenhouses, and treat greenhouses that may already be infected.
|Dr. Liburd visiting a tomato production facility |
in the Jarabacoa Greenhouse Cluster
Dr. Liburd also provided recommendations on how to establish a surveillance and quarantine program to impede the entrance of the medfly into greenhouses. As a result of his assignment, the Jarabacoa Greenhouse Cluster staff and members now have a greater understanding of methods to prevent and control the medfly in horticultural and agronomic crops, as well as a greater understanding of reduced-risk pesticides for medfly management. By providing producers with information on methods to identify the medfly and monitoring and management techniques to control populations, growers can hope for increased sales and exports in the upcoming growing season.