FAO and NEPPO bring regional and international experiences on plant certification programmes to the Near East and North Africa region
FAO and NEPPO bring regional and international experiences on plant certification programmes to the NENA region.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Near East Plant Protection Organization (NEPPO), in collaboration with the National Office of Food Safety (ONSSA) at the Moroccan Ministry of Agriculture, Maritime Fisheries, Rural Development and Water and Forests are organizing a regional workshop on the production, conservation, and utilization of certified propagation materials for fruit trees in the Near East and North Africa (NENA) in Rabat, Morocco, this week.
The three days workshop is paving the way for participants to exchange fundamental information regarding certification programmes of fruit crops and share insights to expand cooperation for sustainable plant production and protection.
“The Near East and North Africa region (NENA) faces many threats from plant pests and diseases, as they cause severe losses to agricultural production reaching 25-40 percent of the total global production yearly. The plant propagative materials are one of the main causes and pathways for the rapid spread of plant pathogens to new hosts and countries. The lack of healthy and certified planting material is a major constraint to the sustainable intensification of agricultural production. Establishing strong Certification programmes for plant propagation materials is fundamental to counteract the spread of threatened diseases and guarantee trueness-to-type and good quality of plants said” Thaer Yaseen, the Regional Plant Protection Officer at FAORNE. He also added that this workshop will be an opportunity for NENA countries to provide recommendations and proposals to move forward in the sustainable production of certified fruit crops in the Near East and North Africa region.
“In recent years, many dangerous pests and diseases have spread in the region, such as the red palm weevil, fall armyworm, bacterial fire blight, and the cochineal insect on cactus. There is also a threat from the spread of Quick Olive Decline disease caused by Xylella fastidiosa. All of these threats require great efforts to reduce their spread, damage, or prevent their introduction. The use of certified plants plays a vital role in reducing the risk of pests spreading and limiting the use of pesticides based on strict control and quality standards to ensure that they are free of diseases and pests, thus enhancing food security”, said Bensajjay Aziz. From the National Office of Food Safety (ONSAA).
Al Habib Ben Jamaa, Executive Director of the Near East Plant Protection Organization, added that the main objective of the workshop was to strengthen the technical capacities of NENA participants and to share knowledge about the production and conservation of certified fruit trees among participants, as well as Italy, France, and the Netherlands. It also aims to identify gaps and needs for sustainable plant certification systems.