1st September, 2008
Is the light brown apple moth such a danger to crops both agricultural and financial that the US government will risk the health of its citizens to eradicate it? They spray, you pay, warns Claire Robinson
America is at war again. This time, the battlefield is California and the enemy is a small insect called the light-brown apple moth, or LBAM. According to California’s agriculture secretary, AG Kawamura, the moth is an invasive pest newly arrived in California that threatens the state’s health, environment, forests, food supplies and quality of life.
‘The crisis is immediate, and this is an environmental emergency requiring quick action by the state and federal governments,’ Kawamura has said. ‘Left unchecked, the light-brown apple moth could cause damage [to the food supply] as high as $640 million annually.’ State assembly agriculture commissioner Tom Berryhill agrees: ‘If we let this thing get into the central valley [California’s main agricultural area], this is Armageddon for agriculture.’
Last year, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) gave the State of California Department of Agriculture (CDFA) $90 million to wipe out the moth. CDFA launched an aggressive eradication programme in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties, as well as in the San Francisco Bay area. The official state of emergency over the LBAM enabled CDFA to put the programme into...
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