Increased world population will demand more food production, which can only be achieved by increasing crop yields and applying a sustainable approach, i.e. more production with rational use of available resources, which also implies responsible use of land and water and enhanced food diversity. Efforts are needed to reduce crop losses due to pests through the implementation of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) (resistant crop varieties, rational use of pesticides, biocontrol and better cultural practices) without harmful side-effects.
Among the pests, weeds are considered an important biotic constraint to food production. Their competition with crops reduces agricultural output (quantity and quality), and increases external costs by spreading them across farm boundaries. It is also a major constraint to increased farmers’ productivity, particularly in developing countries. The labour needed for hand- weeding one hectare of land is not within reach of the small farmer’s family.
Taking into consideration the importance of weeds, FAO is assisting regularly the countries to strengthen national and regional capabilities of the developing world in the implementation of programmes and/or activities on Integrated Weed Management. This support is normally given by FAO through the organization of technical workshops, training courses and seminars, edition of newsletters and books, and setting up demonstration trials for farmers’ education.
Promotion of technically sound and environmentally friendly Weed Management within the context of Integrated Pest Management is an important component of IPM Programme of FAO.