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Bugs mount attack on Okinawa’s tangerine orchards

Date Posted: 2004-02-12

Tangerines and lime fruit grown in Okinawa have gained strong following throughout Japan over pat few years, but are now under attack from an army of bugs that destroys the trees and makes the fruit unusable.

According to JA (Japan Agriculture Cooperative) officials, the bugs first appeared in tangerine and lime trees in Ogimi Village but have since spread over the whole northern part of the island.

Local farmers, with the help of JA officials, have combated the pests with spraying but in worst hit areas about half of the trees are dead already. “The trees first started turning brown two or three weeks ago. The fruit turns black and must be destroyed, so there will be very little to harvest this year,” a JA spokesman said. He also said that although spraying kills the bugs, the trees have to be cut in many cases as they are so badly damaged.

Tangerine farmers in northern Okinawa say that although there has been some bug damage in the past, this year’s problem is much worse.

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