FAO Regional Office for Near East and North Africa

FAO holds Farmer Field Schools training on date palm pest management in Saudi Arabia

The training discusses the management of the Red Palm Weevil in the kingdom


Riyadh, 15 March 2023 - The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, in cooperation with the Weqaa Center, held a refresher training programme to train Farmer Field School(FFS) facilitators on date palm pest management and on controlling the Red Palm Weevil(RPW) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia(KSA) during from 12 to 15 March, with the participation of regional and local experts and trainers from various regions of KSA, within the framework of the regional program for the eradication of RPW in the Near East and North Africa((NENA)region. 

The program aims at enhancing the level of control of RPW and other palm pests as well as integrating good agricultural practices in the NENA region. In addition, the programme aims to qualify farmers to manage and control RPW. 

The training discussed the basic pillars and the main elements in designing the FFS curriculum while defining the special objectives of the FFS, the steps for establishing an FFS and how to appropriately choose the FFS location. Moreover, the trainees examined how to select facilitators and farmers for the FFS and define their tasks and needs to control and eradicate RPW and other palm pests, as well as identify wrong practices in handling RPW and the integration of good agricultural practices. 

The training organized a field visit to a date palm farm in the city of Diriyah in northwest Riyadh, during which trainees learned how to analyze the agricultural ecosystem in the FFS and attended an FFS simulation meeting in groups.

The training programme also discussed the periodic and visual inspection of palm trees, the discussion of the up-to-date inspection techniques, as well as the follow-up and evaluation process, and the discussion of the post-field school stage, including the FAO FFS guide, the economic analysis of FFS, and the FFS operating budget throughout the season. 

The programme seeks to train FFS facilitators to come up with a coherent and closely related system in the field of early control of palm pests and to discuss the qualifications and training of the FFS facilitators to manage and control RPW in KSA.