FAO Regional Office for Near East and North Africa

FAO holds the closing workshop for the regional project to mitigate the risks of Fall Armyworm


13 March 2023, Amman-The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) held the closing workshop of the regional project "Emergency Preparedness and Response to Strengthen the Capacities of Near East and North African (NENA) Countries to Mitigate the Risks of Fall Armyworm (FAW)" from 13 to 14 March in the Jordanian capital, Amman, with the presence of representatives of the ministries of agriculture in the countries participating in the project. 

The workshop reviewed the risks of FAW and the efforts of FAO to mitigate the risks of FAW which attacks crops like corn, rice, sorghum, millet, sugar cane, vegetable crops, and cotton. Moreover, the workshop discussed the implementation of FAW integrated control strategy in the NENA region, in particular in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Lebanese Republic, the Syrian Arab Republic, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip, in addition to discussing the final report of the project, which included achievements, success stories, lessons learned, and challenges and recommendations. 

“The outputs of this workshop will provide regional guidance and recommendations on reducing the spread of FAW and measures to control it,” said Eng.Nabil Assaf, FAO Representative in Jordan. “The workshop aims to encourage the exchange of information among countries in the NENA region on the integrated techniques and technologies to control FAW, as well as to learn about the progress made in the implementation of the project in Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, and to collect suggestions for the way forward in FAO Global Action to combat this pest,” Assaf added. 

The workshop also included a panel discussion on the Farmers Field Schools that were implemented in Jordan in the regions of Deir Alla, the southern Shuna, and the southern Jordan Valley, in addition to a field visit to a model farm and the inauguration of a new laboratory for the production of natural enemies. 

“FAW is one of the most dangerous pests that attacks many economically important crops, as it can feed on more than 80 plant species,” explained Thaer Yaseen, Regional Plant Protection Officer at the Regional Office of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in the Near East and North Africa. “The pest was able, during the last four years, to move between different countries and infect crops in 79 countries in Africa, Asia, and the Pacific, while the pest was reported in 12 of the 19 countries of the NENA region,” Yaseen added. 

Yaseen stated that FAO is always rushing to help local governments and small farmers in countries affected by the presence of emerging pests, and in the case of FAW, the organization has prepared and approved a technical cooperation project to support regional and local capacities to monitor and control FAW in Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria as soon as the ministries of agriculture in those countries requested the support of the organization. 

"We are fully aware of the importance of true partnership between the public sector and international organizations such as FAO in advancing the status of the agricultural sector. Moreover, we are aware of the organization's efforts through projects at the local and the regional level in supporting the efforts of the Ministry of Agriculture in applying integrated control programs for agricultural pests by providing the latest methods in the field of control through the use of local and regional experts, as well as the use of agricultural pesticides that have the best effect in control and are safe to use on farmers and agricultural products,” explained Engineer Ayman Al-Oran, Assistant Secretary-General of the Plant Resources, on behalf of  Eng. Khaled Al-Hunaifat, Minister of Agriculture in Jordan. 

The FAW Technical Cooperation Program project was launched through a virtual workshop to support the authorities of the participating countries to mitigate the risks of FAW in February 2021, in the presence of stakeholders, partners, decision-makers from the public and private sectors, local and international organizations, as well as experts and researchers.