Florida’s citrus crop has been in peril from a fatal disease called citrus greening for some time. A New York Times news story in July of this year entitled,“A Race To Save The Orange By Altering Its DNA,” reports a hopeful remedy to the problem.
Let’s first examine the problem.
How widespread is it?
Citrus production is seriously affected throughout the world in numerous countries in Asia, Africa, the subcontinent of India and the Arabian Peninsula. Florida is not alone in quarantine restrictions. Also in the U.S. quarantine are (alphabetically): Alabama, Arizona, California, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Texas and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Mexico is restricted as well.
What is the Cause?
Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus bacterium is considered to be the cause of the problem. The disease is commonly known as citrus greening, dragon disease or huanglongbing. Carrying and spreading this bacterium is the Asian citrus psyllid (Diaphorina citri). The first Asian citrus psyllids seen in the U.S. were found in Florida in 1998 in Palm Beach County.
What’s been done and what next?
So far, the problem stateside has been addressed by chopping down hundreds of thousands of trees and using a plethora of poisonous pesticides. The next solution being considered is to take the DNA of pigs and put it in the citrus. Yes, you heard that right. That’s not unlike using fish genes in tomatoes and human genes in rice. (I reported those back in 2004 in my book, “The Best Little Health Book Ever” now out of print.)
Is that the total scope of the problem?
Here is some food for thought:
1) Talking at length with a renown tree doctor in PA, it was his practice to fortify a sick tree with the proper minerals, other nutrients and soil improvement to fortify a tree’s defenses against disease.
2) Drenching any life form with pesticides doesn’t fortify health.
3) In nature, the natural predators are a parasitic wasp which feeds on all life stages of the Asian Citrus Psyllid and lays its eggs on the nymphs, killing them. One single female wasp is said to kill in excess of 500 Psyllids in its lifetime.Other common insect predators are spiders, lacewing larvae, lady beetles or ladybugs and praying mantis. They would likely, however, not flourish in toxic pesticides either. A true observation on the importance of nature’s predators is this:
“When we kill off the natural enemies of a pest, we inherit their work.”
– C.B Huffaker
4) Those strictly following Kosher dietary laws would definitely not be eating or drinking GM citrus with pig genes.
5) Inserting human and animal genes into plants isn’t a practice in nature, but rather a contrived experiment of man.
But, let me digress. As a youngster, I had a wonderful pet piggy. I never would have dreamed she would possibly have offspring to don a cape and leotards as a superhero to save the citrus. No, on second thought, she would have eaten a freshly peeled and quartered orange, without pesticides or her DNA spliced in. Consider these potent words:
“History has many records of crimes against humanity, which were also justified
by dominant commercial interests and governments of the day.
Despite protests from citizens, social justice for the common good was
eroded in favour of private profits. Today, patenting of life forms and the
genetic engineering which it stimulates, is being justified on the grounds
that it will benefit society, especially the poor, by providing better and
more food and medicine. But in fact, by monopolising the ‘raw’ biological
materials, the development of other options is deliberately blocked.
Farmers therefore, become totally dependent on the corporations for seeds”.
– Prof. Wangari Mathai of the Green Belt Movement Kenya