Brazil's main orange state SP reports blackfly
Mon Mar 24, 2008 9:35pm EDT

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazil main orange belt in the state of Sao Paulo reported its first cases of citrus blackfly in several municipalities, the state agriculture secretariat said on Monday.

Brazil is the world's largest producer of frozen concentrated orange juice. It is unlikely the presence of the blackfly pest will prompt sanitary restriction from importing countries as most of it shipments occur in the form of processed FCOJ and not whole fruit.

But the pest can sap up to 80 percent of a trees fruit bearing potential in some cases.

"We still can't say what it will do because it is exotic in Sao Paulo. In other states, it doesn't cause losses directly to production... but Sao Paulo is a different situation, we'll have to see how it adapts to Sao Paulo," Mario Tomazela, director of plant health in Sao Paulo, told Reuters.

The blackfly attacks the leaves of the citrus plant draining the sap from them and reducing a tree's yield. It has been registered in other states such as Amapa, Amazonas, Maranhao, Para, Goias and Tocantins, all in Brazil's northern and center-west regions closer to the Equator.

Sao Paulo accounts for about 95 percent of Brazil juice exports.

The agriculture secretariat is imposing restrictions on the handling of citrus fruit in the affected regions of the state.

(Reporting by Roberto Samora; Writing by Reese Ewing)

Original article: Reuters
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