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Mango moths no longer a problem

Monday February 29, 2016 Written by Published in Local
Ministry of Agriculture extension services offi cer Brian Tairea inspecting mango trees for pruning in Arorangi, Rarotonga. 16022620 Ministry of Agriculture extension services offi cer Brian Tairea inspecting mango trees for pruning in Arorangi, Rarotonga. 16022620

The red banded mango caterpillar and their moths that were commonly known to have affected mangoes in the Cook Islands are no longer seen as an issue now.


Ministry of Agriculture extension services officer Brian Tairea confirmed that moth was no longer seen as a problem.

“It is still around but not as bad as in previous years – we have not had any problem come up compared to the past,” Tairea said.

Tairea said traditional insecticides were used to combat the insect, despite it not being organic. People are now advised  to burn organic rubbish near the mango trees so the smoke is able to reach the trees as a way of preventing insects from affecting the mangos.

Tairea said now there are an abundance of mangos around the islands.

“It’s not unusual, basically it has been traditionally known that the north-east towards the western side of the island tend to have more mangos than the southern side mainly because the southern side is more wet then the nortern side,” Tairea said.

Tairea said the normal mango season is between November to January but  all of a sudden the trees are bearing fruit in February.

“There is an abundance of mangos and it is a bit unusual especially for the last five years, we have noticed that some crops that have not come in season— all of a sudden they are coming out of the blue”.

Tairea said people have found it difficult to look after their mango trees or fruit tree due to not being able to provide irrigation.

“In a plot of 100 trees, irrigating a plot becomes difficult and the fruit are not as sweet as they are supposed to be as it lacks the essential nutrients”.

He said people are now having around 30 trees in their gardens and are well able to be managed and produce sweet mangos and other fruits.

Tairea said a major problem of farmers is the managing of their trees.

“People have a tendency to let trees grow big without pruning so we have insects that tend to stay in the trees and ruin the fruit and trees are also not able to produce fruit”.

He said the ministry also conducts tree pruning courses before the month of May.

“May is when we actually start pruning trees, there are people who are eager to learn and there are those who continue to rely on us.”

“But it’s good that most backyard farmers tend to give us a call that they want to prune their trees,” Tairea said.

He said it is important for people who want to have healthy backyard trees and fruit to learn how to prune their fruit trees.         

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