0919 GMT January 15, 2021
According to a press release published by the FAO Representation in Iran on Wednesday, as part of an ongoing technical cooperation program (TCP) emergency project being funded by FAO and implemented in close cooperation with Iran’s Plant Protection Organization (PPO) under the Ministry of Agriculture, the organization handed over 57 ultra-low volume (ULV) pesticides sprayers (including 50 handheld and seven knapsack sprayers) along with 10.4 metric tons of ULV deltamethrin pesticides, worth over $100,000 to PPO.
“Procured through the FAO allocated fund, these pieces of equipment and materials, including current deliveries as well as 25 vehicle-mounted sprayers handed over previously, will boost the technical capacity of Iranian authorities to control and decrease the volume and extend of pest infestations in the country,” said Mahnaz Shabani, the FAO pest management specialist.
Emphasizing the criticality of desert locust early warning system, Shabani also asserts, “FAO will supply Iran with laptops and smartphones and a locally modified and simplified graphical version of a digital platform named eLocust3 for Android smartphones to enhance the dedicated national efforts to track, monitor and report on the desert locust invasion in the country.”
“Providing high-level learning opportunities for three Iranian master trainers as well as conducting training workshops for 320 plant protection and agriculture officers, drivers and plant protection organization provincial heads in five southern desert locust-stricken provinces of the country, are among the other important components of this $500,000 TCP project being implemented by the organization in Iran,” added the FAO pest management specialist.
Entitled Urgent Action for Capacity Building to Control Desert Locust Infestation in Iran, this TCP project will also facilitate the development of an integrated desert locust management strategy for the country and assist the national authorities in fielding the recommended guidelines to further improve monitoring and disaster risk reduction of pest infestations in Iran.
As per Mahmoud Chalaki, Deputy Head of General and Public Pests of PPO, “over 406,000 hectares of lands and rangelands have been chemically treated across the country during the last nine months. The presence and density of desert locust have been decreased in Iran as the pest migrated to summer-breeding areas in the border of Pakistan and India. However, there are still serious concerns that this pest on its way back towards the west of summer breeding areas in November infest the country again.”
FAO, being the UN specialized agency dedicated to increasing food and nutrition security, is implementing similar projects in other desert locust-affected countries, all aimed to support its member states in managing the threat posed by this pest.