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For Immediate Release: August 5, 2004


HONOLULU - During meetings in Honolulu this week, senior agricultural officials from the United States, Mexico and Guatemala took additional steps in establishing an international agreement that will develop a commission management structure to eradicate the Mediterranean fruit fly in Central America.  The measure will facilitate program management resulting in a more efficient use of funds of the Moscamed Program (Moscamed is Spanish for Mediterranean fruit fly).  The U.S. and Mexico also agreed to review regulatory issues that impact exports from Guatemala to the U.S. and Mexico. 

The three countries joined together in Honolulu for the annual Medfly Subsecretary Meeting to discuss the regional Medfly eradication program being conducted in Guatemala and the State of Chiapas, Mexico.

"I am pleased to join my agriculture counterparts from Mexico and Guatemala in developing a blue print for the continued success of the Mediterranean fruit fly eradication program," said Bill Hawks, U.S. Department of Agriculture Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs.  "By working together, we can collectively mitigate the pest threat to our food supply and maintain safe trade between nations."

Discussions focused on program progress and challenges, the budget for the current year, and the anticipated needs for fiscal year 2005.  The meeting was hosted by the U.S. in Hawaii to show foreign leaders from Mexico and Guatemala the successful control and eradication approach being used by the U.S. Department of AgrIculture (USDA) and the State of Hawaii.  Meeting participants are also visiting various farms and manufacturing facilities while in Hawaii.

"The exchange of information and technology between countries has been tremendous at these meetings," said Sandra Lee Kunimoto, Chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture.  "We are pleased that Hawaii has been able to play a role in the progress and development of fruit fly control and eradication programs internationally and in the process, increase our knowledge and resources in our efforts locally."

Hawaii has several species of fruit flies; including the Mediterranean, Oriental, melon and Malaysian fruit flies, which have caused the state to be under a federal fruit fly quarantine for more than 50 years.  Consequently, Hawaii is not allowed to export most fresh fruits and vegetables to the U.S. mainland and most foreign markets unless subjected to quarantine treatment.

In 2000, USDA Agricultural Research Service funded and established the Hawaii Area-Wide Integrated Pest Management Program, which involved USDA, HDOA and the University of Hawaii's College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR).  The program uses population monitoring, field sanitation, insecticide bait sprays and stations and attracting and killing male fruit flies.  USDA has dedicated $2 million dollars per year for the next two years to continue the Hawaii program.

The program has made a dramatic impact in reducing damage caused by fruit flies.  When the program was implemented at Aloun Farms, on Oahu, damage from melon fly infestation was reduced from about 50 percent to less than one percent of the melon crop.  In Kula, Maui, melon fly damage was reduced from more than 40 percent of the crop to less than five percent.  In Waimea on the Big Island, farmers there were able to grow zucchini, a crop that was not viable previously due to extensive fruit fly damage. More than 270 farms on Oahu, Maui and the Big Island that have implemented the methods of the program.

In 2004, the Hawaii Area-Wide Integrated Pest Management Program won several national awards, including:

Ø       Federal Laboratory Consortium Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer, 2004

Ø       Entomological Society of America Pacific Basin Branch Award for Integrated Pest Management, 2004

Ø       USDA Agricultural Research Service Honors Award, 2004.

HDOA and USDA hosted the international meeting, at which Governor Linda Lingle met with senior U.S. and foreign officials. Participants in the Subsecretary Meeting included USDA Undersecretary Hawks, Deputy Administrator for International Services, Ralph Iwamoto, Associate Deputy Administrator for PPQ, Paul Eggert, Dr. Javier Trujillo, Viceminister of Agriculture from Mexico; Dr. Jorge Hernandez Baeza, Director of Plant Protection from Mexico (SAGARPA); Ing. Nicolas Acevedo, National Coordinator from Guatemala, and key USDA foreign program managers from the three participating countries.  Also participating were Hawaii agriculture officials from HDOA and the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources.  Stakeholder participation from private sector agribusinesses included representatives from Texas, California, Guatemala.


For more information, contact:

Janelle Saneishi
Public Information Officer
Hawaii Department of Agriculture
Phone: (808) 973-9560
[email protected]