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FAO applies "soft" controls on leaf miners

The UN FAO, along with partners, is carrying out “soft pest controls” against tomato leaf miners ( Tuta absoluta) in Mediterranean region, including some North African countries. It says that the response has already “minimised” damage, while planning is under way to extend work to Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen. Leaf miners arrived in Spain from the Americas in 2006 and have spread across the Mediterranean region, and as far north as Switzerland. The Spanish insecticide market was boosted by increased sales of leaf miner control products ( Agrow No 617, p 11), but there has been a reported switch to biocontrols in its major protected vegetable-growing region ( Agrow No 643, p 10). The controls employed in the FAO programme have included pheromone traps, natural predators, insect-proof screens, double doors in greenhouses, the removal of infested crops, and rotation of crops with non-solanaceous varieties. FAO pest management expert Khaled Alrouechdi says that the pest rapidly develops resistance to chemical products.

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