FAO Regional Office for Near East and North Africa

FAO launches new regional project to fight the most serious threats to tomato production in the Near East.

21/03/2013-23/03/2013

FAO launches new regional project to fight the most serious threats to tomato production in the Near East.
The tomato borer (Tuta absoluta) is considered as one of the most serious pests of tomato crop. It causes destructive economic damage and losses that could reach up to 50-100% of production in uncontrolled crops.

In the past few years Tuta absoluta has spread rapidly through countries in the Mediterranean Basin and Near East Region, and has threatened tomato production in protected and open fields.

Tomato are one of the major sources of income for farmers in the Near East. Tuta absoluta, hence, “is currently one of the most serious threats to tomato production and farmers’ income in the Near East Region” and “represents a direct threat to the livelihood of thousands of local farmers in the region”.

While various countries have worked to develop management strategies for the tomato borer, lack of communication limits other countries from learning from their experience.

To strengthen regional collaboration, coordination, information and knowledge exchange, and capacity building in management of this pest, FAO launched a new regional project in seven countries of the Near East Region.

H.E. Lebanese Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Hussein Hajj Hassan, hosted the official project launch through an inception workshop held in Beirut in 21-23 March. The workshop gathered pest management experts and authorities from Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon and Yemen to review the current status of Tuta absoluta, develop a strategy for effective management of the pest and set a joint workplan for the participating countries.