Potato threat from European beetles

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AN awareness campaign about a potato beetle that could wipe out entire crops is to be stepped up following concerns about what it could mean for the Jersey Royal industry if it spreads to the Island.

Last month people returning from Portugal, Spain and Madeira over the half-term were warned not to bring back potatoes, fruit and certain vegetables because they could be carrying the Epitrix potato beetle.

This week, States entomologist and head of plant health, Scott Meadows, told the Jersey Farming and Land Use Conference that although there had been no reports of the pest, which is native to north America and makes potatoes unsellable, it had spread to France and was rife in Europe.

And, he said, if necessary the Island would ban the importation of some plants to protect its crops against the threat. 'This could be quite a big issue for Jersey and we are putting measures in place,' he told the conference.

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