UAE: Over 100 possible pests affect date palms, says expert


Abu Dhabi - 127 experts from 16 Arab countries attend virtual lecture on agriculture


Ismail Sebugwaawo

Published: Sun 17 Oct 2021, 11:55 AM

More than 100 possible pests affect date palm trees, some of which infect the fronds and affect flowering inflorescences and pollen, while others affect the trunk, roots and fruits, said an agricultural expert.

During a recent virtual lecture on “Integration of biotechnology products for date palm pest management”, which was organised by the Khalifa International Award for Date Palm and Agricultural Innovation, Dr Mohamed Al Saeed Saleh Al Zmeiti, Pesticides Professor, Department of Plant Protection, Faculty of Agriculture at Ain Shams University in Egypt explained that the current practices followed in pest control, in most of the Arab region, are divided into two procedures.

The first is to use traditional pesticides as the only way to solve the problem (farmers who do not adopt integrated pest management), while the second path is to integrate more than one control method, including the application of pesticides (IPM growers).

“The concepts and principles of the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) system, and the importance of providing the opportunity for each of its program components to perform their function so that the maximum benefit can be achieved from the adoption and implementation of the system,” he said.

Dr Al Zmeiti added that biotechnology is concerned with the application of biological systems and living organisms or their derivatives, to make, modify, or process products for a specific use. Agricultural biotechnology can provide a wide range of benefits to farmers and society in terms of improving productivity and sustainability, developing new industries and improving the ability to face challenges arising from adverse environmental conditions and limiting their effect.

“Biotechnologies play an important role in improving performance for better pest management, and their traditional pest control products include a full range of biological agents /materials including all types of biological agents, which consist of materials/microbial agents, natural enemies, parasites, and plant-based materials,” said Al Zmeiti.

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He explained that traditional biotechnology products used in pest management include microbial substances, entomopathogenic bacteria, bacterial insecticides, bio-nano materials, natural enemies, predators, parasites, parasitoids, herbivores, and sterile insect technology such as fruit flies, and plant-based materials that include insecticidal plant extracts, pheromones, nutritional inhibitors, attractants and repellents.

The virtual lecture was attended by 127 experts and specialists representing 16 Arab countries.

Dr Abdelouahhab Zaid, the Award’s Secretary General, noted that this virtual lecture is in line with the award’s framework and commitment to spread the scientific knowledge and awareness specialised in date palm cultivation and agricultural innovation.

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