As suggested by recent news of yet another invasive pest find dogging the California fresh produce industry, when two guava fruit flies entered traps, it’s unclear how the state’s booming agriculture industry can remain optimistic.
Throw in the state’s budget woes, not to mention years of drought or near-drought weather conditions not exactly conducive to growing most crops, along with ongoing labor controversies, and you’ve got a diagnosis for depression.
Luckily, Californians in the fresh produce industry have never been the type to take these kinds of turmoil lying still.
A California agricultural and environmental group known as the HungryPests Coalition, armed with U.S. Department of Agriculture money, is putting an exclamation mark behind state officials’ already-substantial and ongoing efforts to manage and eliminate invasive pests before they harm California’s nearly $40 billion-a-year boon.
It’s hard to believe the average Californian has limited knowledge of the invasive pest problem, but since a recent poll found that to be the case, increasing awareness efforts to ensure the pest problem doesn’t get out of hand seems a prudent step.
Let’s just hope the information getting to the public alerts Californians to the pest challenges and makes them more sympathetic to spending, manpower and public policy needed to combat the pests, rather than making them afraid to eat the fruits and vegetables grown in their own state.
That would be one case where the locally grown movement could backfire, resulting in agricultural financial tragedy that could eclipse any damage invasive pests might do.
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