Carom fruit fly leads four states to phytosanitary emergency

The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock has declared a phytosanitary emergency in Amapá, Amazonas, Pará and Roraima due to the presence of the carom fly (Bactrocera carambolae). The measure, published this Monday (13) in the Official Journal of the Union, is valid for one year and aims to control the risk of spreading the species to other states, allowing surveillance, containment and control of the threat.

Native to Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, the species was first detected in Brazil in 1996, in Amapá. The carom fruit fly poses a major threat to the country’s agriculture due to the risks to human health, healthy food production and economic damage that this pest can cause, mainly in fruit growing.

When feeding on a fruit, the carom fly deposits larvae which become hosts and accelerate the ripening process and fall of the already damaged fruit. In addition to starfruit, which is the most preferred, the pest can also attack other fruits, such as guava, mango, jambo, acerola and tangerine, making the fruits unviable for human consumption and increasing the cost of production due to control measures.

Since 2017, MAPA has established procedures to prevent and eradicate the scourge of quarantine, that is, it is limited to certain regions of the country. Until the beginning of 2023, the carom fly was limited to the states of Amapá, Roraima and Pará; and in March, Roraima was declared under indefinite quarantine.

The implementation of these measures allows a set of actions in commercial orchards and areas where host fruits are located, places of marketing, transport of goods and passenger baggage, which seek to contain the proliferation of the carom fly. These range from advising people not to harvest and transport the fruits from the ground and, in areas where the species is present, to the use of traps and spraying toxic baits.