Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority's Development Sector has organized a symposium on Integrated Management System for Agricultural Pests in Al Ain today. The symposium provided the participants an opportunity to have in-depth discussions on various aspects of pest management in farming, especially the ill-effects of some methods and the healthier alternatives available.
While delivering the opening address at the seminar, HE Rashid Mohamed Al Shariqi, Director General of ADFCA, said that the Authority was very eager to advance the pest management efforts in farming in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. "It is crucial for better productivity and food safety. Pests impact considerably on the agricultural economy and I hope this symposium would throw up effective ideas which will help in identifying the priorities as far as agricultural pests are concerned," he added.
Presenting a paper on "Integrated Management of Plant Diseases in Greenhouse Cropping Systems," Michael L. Deadman, from the Department of Crop Sciences at the College of Agricultural and Marine Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University opined that greenhouse systems were amongst the most intensive of cropping practices. Therefore, he said, "intensive production, without care, leads to intensive disease. In many parts of the Middle East soil-based production of mainly cucurbit and solanaceous crops remain dominant. Not surprisingly, soil-borne diseases also predominate. Current pesticide input levels are unsustainable and a cause for serious concern in relation to human health," he pointed out.
Speaking on "Management of Thrips, Whiteflies and Aphids on Vegetables in Greenhouses," Ramasamy Srinivasan, Entomologist, AVRDC ï¿½ The World Vegetable Center, Taiwan, said Thrips, whiteflies and aphids were important insect pests on vegetables including tomato, pepper, eggplant, cucumber and cabbage. "Pesticides are major tools for tackling pest problems, and in general, the pesticide consumption is much higher in the UAE at 9.86 kg/ha compared with 0.5 kg/ha in India, 1.5 kg/ha in the USA and 1.9 kg/ha in Europe. Alternative pest management strategies are needed to prevent adverse effects on human health and the environment caused by pesticide overuse," he argued.
In his paper on "Integrated Pest Management of Red Palm Weevil with Specific Emphasis on the Modern Technologies To Suit UAE," P.S.P.V. Vidyasagar, Chair of Date Palm Research, Plant Protection Department, College of Food and Agriculture Sciences, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, said that the red palm weevil was a major threat to the date palm farms in the Gulf countries since its earliest report in mid-eighties. "The larvae of this pest make irregular tunnels inside the host plant and if not detected and treated in time, the death of the affected palm is certain. For the management of red palm weevil (RPW), an integrated approach with rational blending of all the available technologies was paramount," he added.
Speaking on "Integrated Pest Management of Date Palm Borers and the Longhorn Beetle," De Barro Paul Joseph, Senior Principal Research Scientist, CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences, Brisbane, Australia, said integrated pest management (IPM) in its simplest sense is the melding of biological, cultural, physical, mechanical, genetic and chemical control measures.
In his presentation on "Biological control of fruit flies," Dr. Tahir Rashid of Alcorn State University said that Fruit flies were among the worldï¿½s most destructive horticultural pests. "More than 80 species of fruit flies are economically important with devastating effects on their preferred host crops. The ability of fruit flies to migrate from noncommercial to cultivated crops in overwhelming numbers makes their control efforts difficult," he stressed.
Dennis vanEngelsdorp, University of Maryland, spoke on "An Integrated Management Approach for the Control of Varroa Mites" and said Varroa mites were unquestionably the largest threat to managed honey bee populations in the world. "Not only do these notorious mites harm honey bees directly through parasitizing both adult and immature bees, but, and perhaps more importantly, they are vectors of bee viruses. There are various chemical and non-chemical options that beekeepers have to keep varroa mite levels low," he explained.