FAO Regional Office for Near East and North Africa

Red Palm Weevil Eradication Programme

FAO, in collaboration with key international and national stakeholders, is promoting a national and regional programme for Red Palm Weevil (RPW) management in the NENA region. The programme facilitates the coordination of regional efforts to ensure an integrated and sustainable approach to controlling the RPW and reducing its devastating effects on date palm production, the food and income security of rural communities, and the ecology of affected areas. 

Programme targets
  • Providing 60 trainings, including 10 regional training-of-trainer courses and 50 national training courses
  • Reach and train 3.2 million farmers through extension services
  • Manage over 50 percent of date palms using RPW integrated pest management  
  • The programme focuses on three interrelated elements that were addressed through Technical Working Groups (TWGs) activated during the scientific international meeting on “Innovative and Sustainable Approaches for the Control of RPW” in Bari, Italy.

  • Biological control
  • Phytosanitary systems – border control, protocols
  • Certified propagation material to prevent the spread of RPW.
  • Monitoring and information technology for early detection
  • Socio-economic impact
  • Control technologies and enhancing farmer’s capacities for sustainable management of RPW.

  • Ensuring the biological control of RPW moves from research to application
  • Evaluating the socio-economic impact
  • Applying innovative surveillance methods 

  • Implementing national RPW management programmes
  • Enhancing the exchange of expertise
  • Leading national and regional technical assistance
  • Building the capacities of extension services
  • Introducing innovative platforms to address RPW
  • Producing technical guidelines on the management of RPW 

  • Promoting integrated approaches to RPW management
  • Improving phytosanitary systems
  • Promoting date-palm genetic resources in NENA
  • Facilitating the exchange of certified propagation materials free from RPW 
Expected results
  • Establishing policies and regulations in place, including phytosanitary and quarantine management practices, such as integrated pest-management strategies, biotechnology, semio-chemicals, pesticides and biological control.
  • Implementing functioning monitoring, early-warning and RPW risk-assessment systems.
  • Strengthening scientific research and innovation with a view to securing long-term solutions.
  • Improving stakeholders’ capacity, through Farmer Field School training for municipalities, extension services and farmers.
  • Coordination of RPW control response across countries in the NENA region.
  • Based on a priority ranking exercise by the programme Steering Committee (SC), the following 15 Work Packages have been prioritized under six TWGs.
  • Enhancing farmers engagement in RPW Integrated Pest Management (IPM) through Farmer Field Schools (FFS) (16 FFS have been conducted in Egypt, Jordan, Iraq and Palestine)
  • Development of field protocols for selected RPW control tools (Check cooperation with CIHEAM and NEPPO)
  • Regional standard for phytosanitary measures
  • Field evaluation of remote sensor
  • RPW early detection systems
  • Development of fumigation technique for RPW eradication
  • RPW monitoring using “Susa-Hamra” App
  • Ex-ante socio-economic impact assessment
  • Certification of date palm propagative material
  • Ex-post socio-economic impact assessment
  • Regional standard protocol for treatments of offshoots
  • Low-cost trapping & "Attract & Kill" technology
  • RPW free zone protocol
  • Testing of RPW repellents
  • Control of RPW apical infestation on date palm trees
FAO impact

The RPW eradication project developed the following

  • Technical guidelines
  • Chemical, physical, and biological control methods
  • Early detection systems and innovative platforms
  • Certified palm propagation systems
  • Capacity building programmes through Field Farmers Schools
  • Capacity building programmes on methods and control technologies
  • Enhanced phytosanitary procedures
  • Assessed Socio-economic impact in two countries
Success Story

Controlling RPW in Mauritania

Thanks to an immediate and well-structured response to the RPW in Mauritania, the pest was contained at the site of origin within one year, resulting in no further spread. An integrated pest-management approach was followed, which included the active participation and strong commitment of farmers and their cooperatives. In addition, preventive measures were applied, underpinned by systematic coordination, planning and monitoring by all stakeholders. This resulted in the swift eradication of the pest and the declaration of Tidjikja as a potentially RPW-free area.

In partnership with

FAO coordinates and manages the programme and contributes to its implementation together with a wide range of partner organizations, including The Arab Centre for the Studies of Arid Zones and Drylands (ACSAD), The Arab Organization for Agricultural Development (AOAD), International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM), Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Bari (CIHEAM BARI), International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA), International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), Near East Plant Protection Organization (NEPPO),Phoenix Research Station (PRS), King Faisal University (KFU), King Abdullah City for Science and Technology (KACST), and the University of Genoa (UNIGE).

Facts and figures

The issue in numbers

  • Around 90% of the world’s dates are grown in the NENA region.
  • Nearly 50 million farmers’ livelihoods are affected by the RPW.
  • EUR 480 million worth of date palms are destroyed in the Mediterranean countries each year.
  • In Egypt in 2022:
    • RPW was detected on 94% of date palm farms.
    • Annual cost of on-going RPW treatment programs is USD 5.7 million.
    • Annual value of lost date palms and associated forgone revenues is up to USD 213 million.
  • In Saudi Arabia in 2022:
    • RPW was detected on 53% of date palm farms.
    • Annual cost of ongoing RPW treatment programs is USD 34.4 million.
    • Annual value of lost date palms and associated forgone revenues is up to USD 401 million.