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Saudi Arabia contributes $2 million to FAO efforts to fight Red Palm Weevil

FAO to provide technical assistance to Saudi Arabia’s national strategy targeting the pest

FAO Director General José Graziano da Silva during a meeting with Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture, Abderrahman Al-Fadhli in Riyadh. ©FAO/Mouhab Alawar

28 February 2018, Riyadh – Saudi Arabia will provide a new $2 million contribution to support FAO’s global efforts to eradicate Red Palm Weevil one of the world’s most invasive pest species.

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture, Abderrahman Al-Fadhli, made the announcement during a meeting with FAO Director General José Graziano da Silva in Riyadh on Monday.

The Red Palm Weevil destroys palm trees by eating them from the inside, and has rapidly expanded its global spread to more than 60 countries.

The FAO Director General thanked Saudi Arabia for the contribution and confirmed that FAO will also provide technical assistance to support the implementation of Saudi Arabia’s national strategy to combat the Red Palm Weevil as well as promote regional and international collaboration aimed at controlling and eradicating the pest.

Last year, governments endorsed an action plan to protect palm trees from the destructive beetle. The plan includes national interventions, such as improved pest monitoring and greater involvement of farmers, and a proposed international ban on the import of palms larger than 6 centimetres wide from infested countries.

Just four palm species were affected by Red Palm Weevil when studies were done in 1956, but now the pest attacks more than 40 palm species worldwide. The three most-affected species today are coconut palm, date palm and the tall ornamental Canary Island date palm.    


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