16 July 2003, Rome -- The Food and
Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) will help
seven countries in Central and Eastern Europe to control the
spread of the Western Corn Rootworm, a major threat to corn
production in the region.
A US$ 2 260 000
regional project was signed today in Rome by the FAO Assistant
Director-General for Technical Cooperation, Henri Carsalade, the
Italian Director-General for Development Cooperation, Giuseppe
Deodato, and representatives from the ministries of agriculture
of the European countries.
During the next
three years, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro,
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and the Slovak Republic will
benefit from the 20-year experience of FAO in participatory
Integrated Pest Management programmes (IPM).
The project aims to enable farmers to monitor and
control the pests in their fields, keeping the use of expensive
and potentially damaging and dangerous chemical pesticides to an
This initiative will help
national authorities to develop national IPM programmes, using
participatory research and training approaches, to effectively
manage this pest at field level and contain its spread before it
becomes a major threat to corn production in the region.
Improving food security in the
Funded by the Italian
Government, this initiative is the second of its kind to focus
on regional food security with support from the FAO Trust Fund
for Food Security.
The US$ 500 million
Trust Fund was created by FAO's Director-General Jacques
Diouf following the World Food Summit to provide new impetus to
the global fight against hunger.
been the first among FAO's member countries to respond to
this appeal and has committed itself to providing 100 million
euros of which 50 million euros have already been received.
"This application of funds donated
by Italy will make an important contribution to improve food
security in the region," said Carsalade.
The worm from the West
The Western Corn Rootworm (Diabrotica
virgifera LeConte) originated in the United States,
where it remains a major corn pest.
worm moved to Europe in the early 1990s starting in the former
Yugoslavia. Since then, it has caused serious economic damage to
corn production in Serbia and Montenegro, Hungary, Croatia and
In 2001, heavy presence of the
worm was reported in Lombardia, Italy, and in 2002 in France.
This regional project will build on the
latest Western Corn Rootworm research results from USA and
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