FAO Regional Office for Near East and North Africa

FAO Introduces Preventive Measures for Olive Quick Decline Syndrome in Egypt

@FAO-EG Participants at the workshop with FAO country representative in Egypt

Cairo, Egypt, 03 May 2017 -- The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) inaugurated a training of trainers workshop on “preventive measures for the introduction and spread of Olive quick decline syndrome in Egypt” which took place in Cairo with the purpose of building capacities on how to monitor and diagnose the spread of the Olive Quick Decline Syndrome (Xylella fastidiosa).


The workshop was organized within the framework of FAO’s Regional Technical Cooperation Project “Preventive measures to reduce the risk of introduction and spread of Xylella fastidiosa” which has an  objective to prevent the  introduction of the disease into the region, through capacity building of technical staff and farmers on early detection, diagnosis, surveillance and phytosanitary measures.  Participants of the workshop were drawn from the Agriculture Research Centre (ARC) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation (MALR) and they represent the technical experts who can train farmers on how to prevent their olive trees from getting infected by the bacteria.


In his opening speech during the workshop, Hussein Gadain, FAO Representative in Egypt, stated “the olive sector is very important especially for small farmers and their livelihoods, hence, any crop losses will impact negatively on their livelihoods”. Gadain further added “recently, FAO signed a project funded by the EU that focuses on teaching farmers good agricultural practices (GAPs) including plant protection techniques like that of Xylella fastidiosa in Marsa Matrouh Governorate and accordingly, farmers are expected to benefit from additional training that will increase their capacity to reduce olive loss that are related to this type of disease”.


On his side, Shoki Al-Dobai, Regional Crop Protection Officer at FAO Regional Officer for Northern Africa and Near East, explained that, the danger of this Olive Bacteria resides in the fact that it could destroy 95% of Olive wealth in the NENA region since it spreads with several hosts other than Olives, such as Citrus Fruits, Grapes, Almonds and Ornamental plants all of which are of great importance to the Near East and North Africa Region. He added “since the spread of the disease for the first time in Puglia Region in Italy in 2013, FAO worked hard on alarming countries with a wealth of olive trees about this disease and how to prevent it from spreading further”. Therefore, FAO developed and launched this Technical Cooperation Project in the NENA Region via a series of workshops in Algeria, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, West Bank and Gaza Strip, and today in Egypt.


This project further aims at helping governments in preparing emergency plans to face this syndrome and overcome it by developing preventive monitoring plans. It will also build capacities on the early detection of the bacteria, diagnosis and control mechanisms as well as raise awareness among stakeholders about the dangers of these syndrome.


It is worth mentioning that recently, Egypt regained its membership in the International Olive Council, on the occasion of which H.E. Dr. Abdelmoneim El-Banna, Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation, announced that Egypt is about to plant 100 million olive trees in different governorates. This will benefit farmers, traders and will increase export as well as secure job opportunities for youth.


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