Port authorities in both Iran and Pakistan need to be vigilant to the increasing risk of Tuta absoluta crossing with passenger ferries across the gulf.
(News analysis) The traditional and regular ferry services of passengers and goods across the gulf between the ports Kuwait, Damam, Bahrain, Dubai from one side and the ports of Iran and Pakistan present a potential bridge for the pest to cross. Over the past few weeks, news has been coming confirming the outbreak of Tuta absoluta in Kuwait and eastern provinces of Saudi Arabia. The reporting of the pest in Qatar, Bahrain, UAE and Oman is expected to take place very soon. It is a well established fact that Tuta absoluta can move between countries through infested tomato which may be carried across by crew, passengers or traders. Strict quarantine on both sides of the gulf only may be able to delay or prevent ferry crew and passengers from carrying infested tomatoes with them in their travel between gulf ports. Any accidental crossing of the pest could lead to an outbreak of the pest in the key agricultural zones of southern Iran and Pakistan which opens the door wide open for the pest to invade the Indian subcontinent. The climatic conditions in both zones provide are ideal for the pest to have several generations a year. The editor, www.tutaabsoluta.com