Technical and Economic Impact of Integrated Pest Management on Date Palm Fruit Pests: Case of Lesser Date Moth
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The present study is conducted within the framework of the “Development of Sustainable Date Palm Production Systems in Gulf Cooperation Council Countries” project funded by the Gulf Cooperation Council Secretariat (GCC). This research and development project aims to produce new knowledge and practices to improve date palm production systems in the Gulf region. The main activities of the project include improving the productivity of cultivars, managing natural resources (land and water) for optimal performance, optimizing the use of different inputs in the cropping process (fertilizers, pollinators, wastewater, etc.), and studying the genetic diversity of date palms. The transfer of technology and experience between partners is an integral part of the project. The focus of this project was mainly justified by the fact that date palm is key commodity in the GCC region. In addition to its nutritional value, date palm is also an important source of feed and fuel and can be used as a building material in the construction of houses. It is therefore a significant contributor to household income in rural areas. Therefore, date palm farming system in the GCC has faced many environmental, human and biological challenges that have led to their decline and degradation. The vital factors of agricultural pests are among the most important factors threatening their sustainability in the region. The date palm farming system suffer from several pests, including attacks on leaves, stems and fruits. Fruit pests are among the most important palm pests that cause significant economic losses such as The Lesser Date Moth, the Dubas Bug, and various species of Stem Borer. Due to the importance of date palm and the significant economic losses caused by these pests and the spread of infection in all regions, in addition to the lack of studies on the insect in the GCC countries, the assessment of date palm yield losses is needed for the improvement of production systems that contribute to the incomes of rural families and food security in the intervention zones of the project. However, efforts to quantify yield losses and identify their causes are still limited, especially for date palm crop. Having said that, one of the key objectives of this project is to improve livelihoods and empower smallholder farmers through the adoption of improved technology packages based on integrated pest management (IPM). This practical and environmentally-friendly approach to pest control combines an extensive range of techniques to control and prevent the growth and spread of pest populations. It emphasizes the use of cultural and biological interventions and supports the targeted use of pesticides only when alternative methods have been exhausted, costs are not excessive, and there is no threat to existing agroecosystems.