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Nuclear Technology Helps the Dominican Republic Fight Insect Pests

Nuclear Technology Helps the Dominican Republic Fight Insect Pests

Nuclear Technology Saves the Dominican Republic’s Agricultural Sector

Louise Potterton

In the Dominican Republic, agriculture is the second most important industry and a major employer. In March 2015, the outbreak of a highly destructive agricultural pest, the Mediterranean fruit fly, was detected in the country. Shortly after, one of the country's main export markets - the United Sates - banned the import of 18 Dominican fruits and vegetables, causing an estimated US$ 42 million loss in 2015 alone and putting thousands of jobs at risk. With the support of the IAEA, the country launched a programme to eradicate the fly using the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) - a form of insect birth control that uses radiation to sterilize male insects. On 7 July 2017, the Dominican Republic announced that it is free of the fly, just over two years after the outbreak.

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Last update: 02/13/2018 - 16:30