Globally, fruit flies (Diptera, Tephritidae) are one of the most agriculturally important families of insects. About 70 species of fruit flies are considered important agricultural pests, causing very high losses every year. Fruit flies attack fruits of many important crops, including for example citrus, mango, apples, peaches, apricots as well as some vegetables (especially Cucurbitaceae), seed crops and also many wild plants. The major fruit fly genera present in Near East countries are Ceratitis, Bactrocera, Dacus and Rhagoletis.
The economic effects of fruit flies include not only the direct loss of yield and increased control costs, but also the loss of export markets and/or the cost of establishing and maintaining phytosanitary measures, such as Fruit Fly Free Areas, areas of low pest prevalence, treatment facilities and supersession/eradication programmes. In many countries, the exportation of most commercial fruits is severely restricted by stringent phytosanitary measures aimed at preventing the introduction and spread of fruit fly species.
However, the Near East, including North Africa (except Sudan), is still free from the invasion of, for example, Ceratitis cosyra, Bactrocera latifrons and the most devastating pest, B. invadens, which is very widespread in Africa. But, with the globalization of trade, the increase of human movement carrying infested fruits, poor or absent surveillance systems, insufficient staff capacity in identification, resources and the limited infrastructure of the quarantine facilities in many countries, especially in the African continent, the threat of trans-regional invasion across Africa is becoming more imminent. A joint effort within and between the different regions of Africa, the Near East and South Europe is becoming increasingly crucial if the war against fruit flies is to be won.
The aim of this Symposium is to provide a common forum for researchers, phytosanitary regulatory and technical authorities, experts from extension services or advisory bodies, and the fruit and crop protection industry, to share their knowledge on fruit fly biology, phytosanitary and management measures in order to identify gaps in knowledge, research needs and actions to take in case of new introduction in the Near East region (including North Africa), in close collaboration with farmers.
The Symposium on the Management of Fruit Flies in Near East Countries (including North Africa) will be organized jointly by FAO, FAO-IAEA, AAEA, NEPPO, IOBC North Africa Commission, DG Plant Protection in Tunisia and the Tunisian Association of Plant Protection (ATPP), in Hammamet, Tunisia, from 6 to 8 November 2012.
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