Successfully promoting integrated pest management

Integrated pest management techniques offer sustainable ways to manage pests and maximize yields in a variety of crops. HSAD has been working hard to develop these technologies for managing date palm – while promoting their use to farmers.

Date palm is a commodity crop which is crucial to Basra’s economy and food security. So, HSAD has been working with farmers and agricultural officials in the region to increase the use of integrated pest management techniques in date palm orchards. These techniques can slash the infestation rates of date palm pests – such as Dubas bugs and lesser date moths – with minimal use of unsustainable or harmful options such as chemical pesticides. Key to the concept of integrated pest management is the use of biological pesticides such as naturally occurring predators, as opposed to agents made from damaging synthetic chemicals. The major advantages of biopesticides are that they are not harmful to the crops, the local people, or the environment.

Among ICARDA’s recent successes in promoting and implementing integrated pest management solutions was a workshop held in Basra. HSAD led the Date Palm Integrated Pest Management Workshop, attended by over 40 date palm production stakeholders. Included in the audience were representatives from the Basra Agriculture Administration and the Ministry of Agriculture, Iraq, as well as many date palm farmers. Four integrated pest management experts from HSAD and the Ministry of Agriculture taught the trainees important lessons about managing the pests that pose the biggest threats to stable date palm crop yields. The main lessons shared at the workshop were how to reduce the numbers of date palm stem borers and lesser date moths using techniques such as light traps and biopesticides.

The Date Palm Integrated Pest Management Workshop was a successful step in extending use of these new techniques to all date palm orchards in Basra.