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FAO CONDUCTS A TRAINING PROGRAM FOR THE ERADICATION OF RED PALM WEEVIL IN IRAQ

Thaer YASEEN,Regional Plant Protection Officer, with the participants in Baghdad, Iraq. ©FAO/2019

Baghdad, 3 July 2019 - The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Iraq, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture in Iraq, and with the participation of experts from across the region, held a two-day workshop and training program for the eradication of Red Palm Weevil (RPW) in Iraq from 1 to 2 July in Baghdad.

The training focused on strengthening the national institutional capacities and technical capabilities of all stakeholders, particularly the ministry of agriculture staff and farmers to enforce the appropriate phytosanitary measures and pest management practices; to combat the infestation and eliminate the further spread of the pest. Session also covered theory and practice on the eradication of red palm weevil by international protocols.

RPW infestation was first recorded in Safwan, Basrah Governorate of Iraq during October 2015. Since the first report of RPW in Safwan Province / Basrah Governorate, the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) in coordination with Basrah Agriculture Directorate has immediately taken several legislative and management measures to control the pest. The solution revolved around monitoring, management and eradication to curtail the problem which has been considered as the 1st phase of the national action plan to deal with this sudden infestation in Iraq.

Mr Mustapha Sinecure, FAO Representative a.i in Iraq welcomed the participants and highlighted the importance of the technical cooperation programme (TCP) for the eradication of RPW, a key pest of date palm detected in Safwan, Basra Province of Iraq during 2015. The Project facilitated capacity building of the ministry of agriculture staff and other stakeholders on the control of RPW through 10 Workshops and understanding of  RPW management strategies from several International Experts.  The Project also organised a joint Inception Workshop in Erbil involving Iraq, Iran, and Kuwait. Iraq will also participate and benefit from future FAO Programs on RPW conceptualised during the donor meeting held in Abu Dhabi during March 2019.

Dr Hussein Ali Saud, Ministry of Agriculture Adviser for animal resources activity appreciated the achievements of the Project which has succeeded in containing the spread of RPW but cautioned about the existing risk of future invasions of RPW from neighbouring countries. Mr Al Saud highlighted the importance of the phytosanitary measures activated by MoA against RPW and hoped that the Project would be extended beyond 2019.

Mr Thaer Yaseen, Regional Plant Protection Officer, FAO-RNE, Cairo presented the outputs and activities of the FAO Program for the Eradication of Red Palm Weevil in the NENA Region to intensify governance, monitoring, scientific research, capacity building, and coordination. He assured continuous support from FAO for the eradication of RPW in Iraq, including the strengthening of regional cooperation with Kuwait.

Following the training and consultations, participants agreed on several recommendations to contain and control RPW which has been instrumental in preventing the spread of this pest in the rest of the governorates of the Republic of Iraq and to enhancing regional cooperation to control this pest.


03/07/2019

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