Department has found 40 most dubious harbingers of pests
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 01/18/2013 -- When it comes to pests making their way to the islands of Hawaii, experts have narrowed down the 40 imported commodities most likely to facilitate such movements. These items, that include lettuce and cut flower, account for 90% to 95% of the pests and potential invasive species that enter Hawaii, a state official said.
The Agricultural Department's “Buy local, it matters” campaign has been addressing the problem of the import-prompted invasions by urging consumers to buy products that are from Hawaiian retailers and vendors. The department is also taking steps to help farmers grow particular products that are both high in demand and more often imported.
Carol Okada, a plant quarantine manager, stated that "It's more than just getting the people to want the product, but it's also having the growers being able to grow it," Okada told lawmakers at a hearing on invasive species.
The department is particularly concerned about the pathogens native to Brazil that may sneak their way into Hawaii via the cut flowers. Pathogens such as eucalyptus rust is a large threat, according to experts.
Hawaii imports anywhere between 85% to 90% of its food and flowers.
The products that make their way to the islands by boat and via the harbors or airports are have forced the AD to cut down on the total number of inspections in order to make the inspections they do partake in a higher quality inspection.
Unfortunately for Hawaii, many of the pests that find their way to the islands can naturally thrive in the subtropical warmth. These pests can sometimes do severe damage to the native plants, forests, and farms. Many native species cannot keep the pests in check due to their natural evolution without a known defense for the pests.
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