The Jamaica Coconut Industry Board, with assistance fromthe Rural Agricultural Development Authority, is conducting a survey to identify the extent to which the red palm mite has been affecting the sector.
A preliminary survey conducted by the Plant Protection and Plant Quarantine Unit identified the mite in St. Thomas, Kingston, St. Andrew and St. Catherine.
The ornamental palm industry along with coconut, banana and plantain plants would be severely affected if this pest spreads across the island.
Minister of Agriculture and Lands, Roger Clarke, will be addressing the potential danger the red palm mite poses to the industry at a meeting scheduled for tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Senator Norman Grant, president of the Jamaica Agricultural Society, says there is no need for alarm as the coconut board and RADA are carrying out the necessary actions to identify and eliminate the pest.
“No need to panic as the approaches and mechanisms needed are being employed, to control and to eradicate (the pest) in the shortest time,” Senator Grant said.
The red palm mite causes serious leaf damage, which ruins the ornamental value of palms.
The mite has been identified in several Caribbean countries infesting other exotic and ornamental plants, including banana and the heliconia species.
The red palm mite was reportedly identified about three years ago in Martinique.