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NMC-CREES Hosts Workshop on Citrus Production and Research to Benefit Local Producers (April 24, 2012)

In an effort to assist local producers in other areas of agriculture, the Northern Marianas College Cooperative Research Extension and Education Service (NMC-CREES) has initiated a research project to improve the potential for citrus production in the CNMI.

“Pacific island communities have great potential for small-scale production of citrus varieties,” said Lawrence Duponcheel, NMC-CREES extension agent.

Duponcheel added, “However, there are some challenges with citrus production specific to our region and we’re trying to find solutions to help local citrus producers overcome these challenges.”

In the Pacific, there are certain pests and plant diseases that can negatively affect the lifespan of citrus trees and the quality of the fruit resulting in decreased productive capacity. These include the Citrus Tristeza Virus and Phytophthora, which is a soil-borne fungus that causes gummosis.

The aim of NMC-CREES project is to improve citrus tree longevity, as well as fruit quality and quantity through the introduction and evaluation of disease-resistant commercial varieties of citrus rootstocks and cultivars. These varieties were developed and collected from Citrus Research Centers, such as those in California and Florida.

“The results of this research project should be able to tell us what varieties are best suited to local growing conditions leading to better sustainability of this type of production, as well as better profitability,” said Duponcheel.

In addition, NMC-CREES is inviting interested local producers, farmers and individuals to attend a workshop to learn more about this project and citrus production on Friday, May 4, 2012 from 8:00 am to 10:00 am in Room D-1 at the NMC As Terlaje campus. Participants will also receive free grafted citrus trees while supplies last.

This research project is called “Field Evaluation of Commercial Citrus Rootstocks and Cultivars in the Northern Mariana Islands” and is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Hatch and Smith-Lever programs.

For more information, contact NMC-CREES at 234-5498 ext. 1707.

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