100% biological control for Orri Jaffa mandarin farmers

Environmental Orri Jaffa farming has been taking strides and can now be 100% biologically controlled

One of the biggest challenges to citrus growers is the Mediterranean fruit fly (Medfly), which increases in number in farmed orchards as the fruit deteriorates.

To counteract this, Israel's Plant Production and Marketing Board (PPMB) has announced the launch of Orri Jaffa, an easy peeler mandarin, fully protected using biological controls.

It will be on show at Fruit Logistica, from February 7-9 at The Cube, in Berlin.

"The Jaffa brand of Israeli citrus has always stood for high quality fruit and complete safety," says Tal Amit, Head of the Citrus Division at PPMB. "Orri Jaffa is now cultivated under the finest green standards as well as being in full control of its supply chain."

Of course, citrus farms already carry a number of natural enemies; keeping the pest population at bay and the mission of The Israel Cohen Institute for Biological Control (ICIBC) at PPMB is to ensure that the citrus orchards minimise pest control and use ecofriendly measures.

To ensure that orchards remain sustainable and make the most of the natural enemies of the citrus pests, targeted intervention is required to keep the ecosystem in balance.

To do this around 11,000 hectares, almost 70% of the orchard, is sprayed with natural, food based baits, luring the Medfly to biological insecticides.

This process meets the environmental criteria of spraying at ultra-low volumes (ULV) as approved by global organic organisations. As around 20% of the orchards are located near urban areas or water sources, the method used here involves alternating bait spraying with the use of bait stations.

In around 10% of orchards, an advanced insecticide free control is used, such as the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT).

This involves release of factory bred sterile male Medflies who mate with the wild females, causing the population to drop. Another method involves mating disruption (MD) for moths, which uses synthetic sex pheromones confusing the locality of the targeted species and so reproduction.

Medfly can also threat countries where it is considered a quarantine pest and to combat this, phytosanitary measures are now being used.

Here, the exported citrus fruits undergo an environmentally friendly cold treatment in which the fruit is stored in sub-freezing temperatures for around 2–3 weeks, to eliminate any chance of introducing living pests to the import country.

PPMB, along with ICIBC, is using a reliable monitoring system and accurate Geographical Information System (GIS), which precisely uses pest control only where it is needed.

"As we take full responsibility for this biological pest control, we are able to ensure transparency and more importantly, traceability of the Orri Jaffa supply chain from farm to retailer and so keep it safe," explains Amit. "We decide how and when, and exactly what method to use each time, for protecting Orri Jaffa from fruit flies."