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Although crop losses from nematode infestation in the Near East region have never been formally evaluated, they are believed to range between 7 and 13 percent. In some cases total loss of crops can occur, while in others farmers are forced to abandon their land because of the extent of nematode infestation.

In general, nematology is considered to be less developed in the region than other plant protection disciplines such as entomology and plant pathology. This situation could be ascribed to the lack of subject specialists, adequate facilities, research and extension; it nevertheless contributes to the scarcity of knowledge and experience on the management of plant nematode problems.

The Expert Consultation on Plant Nematode Problems and their Control in the Near East Region, which was convened in Karachi, Pakistan, in 1992, was the first event of its kind where scientists from the region focused on nematology problems and the impact of present control measures. The Consultation proposed ways and means to minimize the nematode problem efficiently in agricultural production.

The Proceedings of the Expert Consultation presented here provide detailed information on the dimension of the problem in a number of FAO member countries in the region; techniques in use for nematode diagnosis and identification; the status of control elements; and opportunities for integrated management of plant parasitic nematodes in the Near East. The conclusions and recommendations of the Consultation are also given.

It is our hope that this publication will assist technicians, researchers, extensionists and farmers in the containment of the parasitic plant nematode problem in the Near East region.

M. M. Taher
Senior Plant Protection Officer
FAO Regional Office for the Near East

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