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Grape Commission awarded grant to research invasive pests

POSTED March 18, 2011 7:51 p.m.

The California Table Grape Commission has been awarded a USDA Foreign Agricultural Service Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops grant for a 3-year project in the amount of $363,500 for research on invasive pests that pose threats to the table grape industry.

The grant will be used to develop post-harvest treatments that could help keep markets open in the event an invasive pest jeopardizes California table grape shipments.

“Invasive species have the potential to completely disrupt the marketing of affected products,” said Kathleen Nave, president of the California Table Grape Commission. “An invasive pest find can affect domestic shipments as quickly as it disrupts exports,” Nave said.

Frank Gabler, viticulture research director for the commission, says the money will be used to research and develop effective postharvest treatments for invasive pests of concern. “Our ultimate goal is to secure uninterrupted shipments of California table grapes to domestic and international markets,” said Gabler. “The first three targeted pests are spotted wing drosphilla, European grapevine moth, and brown marmorated stink bug.

According to Gabler, the grant project will identify postharvest treatments that do not compromise table grape quality, that are compatible with standard industry practices and that do not require significant investment to adapt existing infrastructure, thus helping to ensure the sustainability of the table grape farms in California.

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