The country is losing $200 million annually due to fruit fly, which is a serious threat to export of fruits and vegetables.

It was said by agricultural experts during a seminar organised by the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, in collaboration with the district government on the directives of the Punjab government here on Saturday.

The event was organised in connection with the fruit fly management week. Chairing the seminar, UAF Vice-Chancellor Dr Muhammad Iqbal Zafar said that modern practices must be promoted and practiced in the fields to fight the attack of different insects. He said that if fruit fly issue was not addressed at national level, it would not only dent our agricultural exports butwould  also cause a reduction in production.

He lauded the steps being taken on the part of the Punjab government for the uplift of the sector and to promote the modern techniques and practices. He said that plant protection measures would help increase per hectare yield by protecting crops from diseases and controlling the pests. He said that we had to educate the farming community to tackle the situation that would jack up their income and reduce poverty.

Dean Faculty of Agriculture Dr Muhammad Amjad Aulakh said that fruit fly management was still a challenge, adding that Indian mango export to Europe was banned due to fruit fly last year whereas a warning was also issued to Pakistan in this regard.

He suggested that awareness should be given about fruit fly at school level across the province. Department of Entomology chairman Dr Jalal Arif said that the week was being observed on the directives of the Punjab government to raise awareness in farming community and general public. He said that fruit fly was inflicting losses worth $150 million to the United States, $242 million to Brazil, $159 million to Australia and $100 million to India.

Institute of Horticulture Sciences Director DrAmanullah said that modern technologies should be applied to control fruit fly. Vehari Plant Production Deputy Director KashifNadeem said that the government was taking all possible measures to address the fruit fly issue. Entomology Department Assistant Professor Dr Muhammad Dildar said that in 2013, almost all mango shipments/consignments from Pakistan were disposed of by the quarantine department of the UK because of detection of fruit flies inside the fruit. Dr Waqas Wakeel and DrAbid Ali also spoke on the occasion.