The California Table Grape Commission has fattened its pest fighting coffers, thanks to a $363,500 research grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The funds, from the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service’s Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops program, will be used by the Fresno-based commission for a three-year research project aimed at invasive pests, according to a news release.

Grape commission earns federal grant to fight pests

The thrust of the research will be to develop effective postharvest treatments, Franka Gabler, the commission’s viticulture research director, said in the release.

“Our ultimate goal is to secure uninterrupted shipments of California table grapes to domestic and international markets,” she said. “The first three targeted pests are spotted wing drosophila, European grapevine moth, and brown marmorated stink bug.”

A significant percentage of the state’s table grapes end up in foreign countries.

“Table grapes are a $1.3 billion FOB industry in California with shipments to over 60 countries worldwide,” Kathleen Nave, commission president said. “In a 100 million box industry, it is vital to keep all markets open.”

The research will attempt to identify treatments that do not compromise the quality of the fruit, that are compatible with standard industry practices and that are cost effective, so as to sustain California table grape farms, Gabler said.