The Agrarian Extension Agency of the Cabildo of Tenerife, in collaboration with the Rural Development Area of the Los Realejos City Council, recently removed 218,000 kilos of potatoes affected by the Guatemalan moth (Tecia solanivora). The councilor delegate of the area, Alexis Hernández (PP), reports that the collaboration between both institutions has made it possible that in one more harvest containers have been enabled in the Las Llanadas neighborhood, where a total of 174,780 kilos have been removed, and in the Icod de Los Trigos Cooperative in Icod el Alto, where 43,600 kilos were removed.
The mayor of Los Realejos, Manuel Domínguez (PP), acknowledges that «we are still very concerned about the serious threat of this plague that, year after year, affects this traditional crop of the islands that is especially rooted in this municipality in the mid-range environments from Icod el Alto, Palo Blanco, Las Llanadas and La Ferruja. All collaboration and common work is important to continue in this fight for the survival of such a unique product from our garden.
Alexis Hernández adds that «Ending this serious threat to our crops is everyone’s job, and that is why both administrations ask for the maximum collaboration of those who work in the field. In his opinion, “it is important to appeal to everyone’s responsibility to remove those potatoes affected by the moth from their fields and to do so by depositing them in the conditions and places that are required. Subsequently, the Cabildo takes charge of the transfer of everything collected to the waste plants.
Over the last few years, the Department of Rural Development has taken measures to mitigate this plague, such as the distribution of pheromones for free distribution among farmers in the municipality in order to continue working on the control of the potato moth.
At the beginning of 2020, 14 international researchers who are experts in agricultural pests, belonging to the European and Mediterranean Organization for Plant Protection, were in Los Realejos in order to address the incidence of this pest and its control strategy and future studies on the ground.
In 2017, the municipality’s growers agreed to collaborate with a major regional project draft for the future of this crop in which the Government of the Canary Islands, the Council of Tenerife and the University of La Laguna participated in order to investigate and find ways to eradicate this harmful moth ».
More than two decades
The Ministry of Agriculture of the Government of the Canary Islands has determined that the Guatemalan moth (Tecia solanivora) was introduced to the Canary Islands in 2000 “through a passenger from Latin America who brought with him some infected potatoes.” Since then, the plague has spread throughout the islands, becoming a major problem for the producers of this tuber, whose productions suffer a reduction of up to 50% due to this introduced insect. Administrations and experts continue research and international studies to try to stop this problem and prevent it from spreading to other areas of Europe. This pest is also a serious problem for the commercialization of Canarian potatoes outside the Archipelago.