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Botswana suspends food imports from South Africa after fruit fly detection

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Botswana on Tuesday announced the suspension of imports of crops and other related vegetative products from South Africa with immediate effect.

   This followed the detection of Drosophila suzukii, a fruit fly commonly called the spotted wing drosophila, in Botswana’s southern neighbor, said Velleminah Pelokgale, a plant health officer with the Botswanan Ministry of Agriculture.

   The pest was detected on blueberry production farms situated in the eastern and western parts of South Africa, said Pelokgale, adding that Drosophila suzukii is a fruit fly of quarantine economic importance.

   “Phytosanitary measures are being put in place to prevent the introduction and spread of the pest in Botswana,” she said.

   Drosophila suzukii affects strawberries, raspberries, persimmon, figs, cherries, plums, peaches, blackberries and blueberries. Other crops that are affected by the pest include currants, grapes, and wild hosts such as cherry silverberry, dogwood, and mulberry. 

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