"We did not receive any notification from bell pepper growers that the African fruit moth has been encountered in the greenhouse," Sjaak van der Tak, chairman of Greenhouse Horticulture in the Netherlands emphasizes this, in response to reports in various national media outlets about the dangers of the African fruit moth, especially for Dutch cultivation and export of peppers. In the Algemeen Dagblad and at the NOS TV there was talk of 'threat' and 'headaches' among growers.
Gerben Messelink, entomologist, already last Friday nuanced those big headlines on our website and later that day, trade organizations GroentenFruit Huis and Greenhouse Horticulture Netherlands also responded. Sjaak van der Tak said that growers use a strict protocol to prevent any problems.
The trade organizations GroentenFruit Huis and Greenhouse Horticulture The Netherlands are emphatically distancing themselves from the publications. Gert Mulder, director of GroentenFruit Huis, emphasizes that it is primarily an African problem. “This fruit moth can nestle itself in roses over there. It is important for growers in Kenya, for example, to ensure that they export clean products to the European Union.
It is the task of the NVWA to ensure that the flowers are actually free of organisms that we do not have in the Netherlands and certainly do not want here. The fact is that the NVWA also handles this well; they intercept parties and will reject them in case of a find. A lot of checking is done by the authorities in Africa as well."
Both organizations mainly criticize the tone in the national media, based on the wrong interpretation of incorrect figures. "In this context numbers and increasing rates are mentioned that do not relate to the African fruit moth, but to the total of intercepted shipments," says Sjaak van der Tak.
Gert Mulder adds that the special life cycle of the African fruit moth any way minimizes the risk of a larger problem. "The buyers of our peppers can rest assured."
Gerben Messelink, entomology researcher at Wageningen University & Research, endorses the latter. Asked by the trade organizations, he responds once again to nuance the tendency in the earlier reporting. "There is certainly no threat, the fact is that the sector must be alert at all times to keep q-organisms, such as the African fruit moth out. It is not inconceivable that Dutch pepper growers will encounter problems with this moth, but this is very theoretical. The risks for the cultivation sector and trade are minimal, but because of the status the involved authorities must be constantly vigilant and intensify the checks if current events so require. ”In short, alertness is required, but not unlike any other situation.