Florida's Billion-Dollar Fruit Industry Threatened by Pest

Photo Modified: Flickr/USDA/CC 2.0

Florida's Billion-Dollar Fruit Industry Threatened by Pest

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Florida's Billion-Dollar Fruit Industry Threatened by Pest

Photo Modified: Flickr/USDA/CC 2.0

Since late August, Florida’s department of agriculture has reported the discovery of at least 159 flies.

The incredibly lucrative agriculture industry of Miami, Florida — worth an estimated $1.6 billion according to the Florida commissioner of agriculture Adam H. Putnam — is under grave threat from a tiny pest, the Oriental fruit fly.

Since late August, 159 flies have been reported in Miami-Dade County, and the fly, which feeds on 430 different types of produce, represents an agricultural state of emergency, Putnam announced earlier in September.

In a statement, Putnam warned that the immediate eradication of the fly was critical, as the industry supports roughly 11,000 jobs. “We'll continue to work closely with stakeholders to eradicate the Oriental fruit fly,” Putnam said.

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Together with the United States Department of Agriculture, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has launched an eradication program aimed at minimizing the damage done by the Oriental fruit fly, including the establishment of a quarantine zone and the removal of fruit from host trees.