Tackling the threat of Sunn Pest

A swift response to Sunn Pest infestation in Diyala Governorate recently averted potentially significant yield losses and demonstrated the effective working relationship being forged with Ministry of Agriculture officials. The response provides a framework that can guide future eradication efforts, equipping Iraqi officials with the experience and skills to undermine the threat that this pest poses – one of the major constraints to wheat production in the region.

A delegation was quickly gathered to inspect fields in Khalis District following a request from the Director General of the National Center for Organic Farming. The team confirmed that approximately 1500 hectares were affected, with an infection rate of 10.06 insects per m2 - ten times the international critical rate.

A subsequent report produced by the HSAD IPM Team recommended the use of sprays to deal effectively with the severity of the outbreak. This decision was subsequently confirmed as the correct course of action by ICARDA’s IPM expert, Dr. Mustapha El-Bouhseini. In response, resources were deployed and quickly applied to infected areas. Follow-up visits to affected areas demonstrated that treatments were efficient in reducing the infection.