Date palm award for fight against weevils

ABU DHABI - The Abu Dhabi Farmers’ Services Centre (ADFSC) bagged the Khalifa International Date Palm Award for the best development project for its initiative to treat 87,500 trees against weevils.

By (Staff Reporter)

Published: Wed 22 Feb 2012, 11:39 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 4:42 PM

The ADFSC’s project, the Improved Date Palm Nutrition Programme, is a comprehensive care programme to improve date palm health in the emirate with controlled release of fertilisers, soil additives and organic plant food.

Now in its second year, the programme is in the process of treating 87,500 trees in 175 farms in the emirate, and these farms will act as a wide-scale demonstration, providing examples and sites across the emirate for training both farmers who are and are not participating in the programme.

With this in mind, the ADFSC is in the process of offering seminars in these demonstration farms, providing training in the complete range of date palm care, from cleaning and trimming palms to fertilisation and spraying against pests.

Chris Hirst, CEO of the ADFSC, said: “We are very proud of the award. It helps to validate all the hard work that went into implementing the programme, which has already shown solid results.”

This year’s programme includes farms in Al Ain, Abu Dhabi and additional farms in the Western Region in addition to the 50 farms that participated in last year’s programme. In both Al Ain and the Western Region, 37,500 palm trees will be treated, and 12,500 palm trees will be treated in Abu Dhabi. Another important aspect of the programme is its focus on eliminating the red palm weevil from the treated palms.

“By using relatively straightforward cleaning and trimming methods,” said Hirst, “it’s possible to eliminate an astonishing amount of red palm weevil larva from the palms. Practices such as removing side shoots and trimming old leaf bases so that there is no gap giving the larva no place to attack the tree.

“Not only does this get rid of most of the larva, but these practices cut down on the need for excessive pesticide use, resulting in a safer and healthier yield.”

Shaikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minster of Higher Education and Scientific Research, will present the ADFSC with its award in a grand ceremony at Emirates Palace on March 11.

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