Ongoing cooperation: the Civil Administration and the Israeli and Palestinian Agriculture Ministries fight agricultural pests

The Civil Administration`s agriculture department, in conjunction with the Plant Protection and Inspection Services, hosted representatives of the Palestinian Authority`s Ministry of Agriculture for an open house focused on the protecting crops from pests

Date: 14.08.12     Author: Menachem Adoni Palestinian farmers in Judea and Samaria have recently begun seeing the peach fruit fly, which wreaks havoc on entire crops. The peach fruit fly is defined as a first degree quarantine pest, and it severely damages mango, peach, guava, pomegranate, fig, almond, apple, and papaya orchards, causing irreversible economic damage.
The pest was first detected in Israel in 1999, at the border with Egypt and the Gaza Strip. At the time, it was treated and monitored. “The peach fruit fly poses a existential threat to orchards and causes irreversible economic damage. Therefore, we are committed to cooperate in order to monitor and eradicate the pest,” explained the the deputy agriculture officer in the Civil Administration, Mr. Ayman Assad.
The Civil Administration received approval from the Ministry of Agriculture, and in the early fall, over 100 traps will be delivered to the agriculture department in the Civil Administration. The traps will be transferred to Palestinian farmers in Judea and Samaria and spread throughout their crops for protection.
At the same time, the Civil Administration has begun a new project using a biological pesticide against another pest, at the cost of 300,000 NIS. Each week, the agriculture officer in the Civil Administration purchases 2 million sterile flies from BIOB. These flies are transferred to the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture, which is responsible for dispersing the flies throughout agricultural fields in the Jordan Valley, Judea, and Samaria.
With time, the female pests will mate with the sterile flies and lay empty eggs, preventing the pest population from reproducing. “The aim of this project is to minimize the use of chemical pesticides, which may also damage the crops,” Mr. Assad said.
“These two initiatives are the latest of a long list of joint projects carried out by the Civil Administration, with the goal of helping farmers in Judea and Samaria produce the best possible crops,” Mr. Assad concluded.