Workshop on Managing Citrus Biosecurity and Citrus Nursery Practices

Managing Citrus Biosecurity – Workshop in progress at NPPC, Simtokha
Managing Citrus Biosecurity – Workshop in progress at NPPC, Simtokha

The National Citrus Program, Horticulture Division, Department of Agriculture, organized a workshop on Managing Citrus Biosecurity and Citrus Nursery Practices at the Research and Development Centres, Bajo (Wangdue) and Bhur (Sarpang) between 31 October and 6 November 2014. The workshops were put together as part of the ongoing ACIAR (Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research) funded Citrus Project “Adapting Integrated Crop Management Technologies to Commercial Citrus Enterprises in Bhutan and Australia”. A similar workshop was also organized in Thimphu at the National Plant Protection Centre (NPPC), Simtokha.

Dr (Ms) Nerida J Donovan from the Elizabeth MacArthur Agricultural Institute (EMAI), New South Wales (NSW) Department of Primary Industries (DPI), Australia, presented the workshop on citrus biosecurity while Gary R Eyles from the Eyles Nursery (NSW) delivered a talk on citrus nursery practices. Dr Nerida is presently one of the few government funded citrus pathologist in Australia and has been working with the EMAI since 1999. She runs a NIASA accredited nursery site and manages an MAF Biosecurity accredited off-shore quarantine facility in addition to undertaking research and diagnostic work on citrus for the Australian government. Dr Nerida’s role in the ongoing project with Bhutan is to help develop and set-up a functional disease/diagnostic testing program for germplasm maintenance at the Citrus Repository in Mithun (Tsirang).

Inspection of the citrus repository set-up at RDSC-Mithun, Tsirang
Inspection of the citrus repository set-up at RDSC-Mithun, Tsirang

Gary Eyles runs the Eyle Citrus – a multi-award winning family-run nursery established in 1919. The nursery, based in Kenthurst, Sydney, is considered one of best citrus nurseries across the globe. The Project brought on board Gary to look at citrus nursery production system in the country and to help tailor a course for Bhutanese official based on his observations and recommendations. As part of the program, Gary also provided a brief field demonstration on citrus propagation technique in practice in Australia.

The visiting team was led by Graeme P Sanderson, the Project Team Leader, who also delivered a brief talk on the research activities run in parallel as part of the project in Australia. Graeme is a researcher based at the DPI Institute in Dareton (NSW), and oversees activities responsible for evaluation of new citrus varieties to help ensure a healthy budwood program.

Senior officials from the department, researchers and extension personnel attended the program in Thimphu, Bajo and Sarpang. The visiting delegate also inspected the national citrus repository premises in Tsirang in addition to field visits at the National Seeds Centre (Bhur), RDC-Bhur and a demonstration orchard in Tsirang.

Report & Photographs by Lakey (National Citrus Program, Department of Agriculture).

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