Citrus industry leaders from California in the US and from Mexico have met to discuss ways forward in the battle against the Asian citrus psyllid.
Two days of meetings saw discussions on bilateral dialogue to prevent the pest establishing itself, agreements on sharing research and scientific findings, and the development of a joint action plan.
"Our first priority in meeting with the Mexican industry was to seek their support for joint action to prevent the introduction of HLB and to eliminate Asian psyllid populations along the border, and I think we accomplished that," said Joel Nelson, president of California Citrus Mutual.
The Asian citrus pysllid can be extremely harmful to citrus trees as it is often a carrier of Huanglongbing (HLB), otherwise known as citrus greening disease. The incurable disease has ravaged citrus production across many parts of the world including Asia, the Middle East and parts of the US, by altering the taste and appearance of fruit and eventually killing the infected tree.
"We're facing a death sentence for citrus trees in California and the same is true for Mexico," said Ted Batkin, president of the California Citrus Research Board. "We have a stronger chance of weakening the threat by working together on both sides of the border."