People, Environment

Drought, Pests Plague Crops

Drought, Pests Plague CropsDrought, Pests Plague Crops

Climate change and drought have led to an increase in the number and variety of pests and plant diseases, which require cutting-edge technology to combat.

Jafar Mohaqeq Neyshaburi, head of the Iranian Research Institute of Plant Protection, made the statement at the 22nd Plant Pathology Conference that was held on Saturday at Tehran University’s Agriculture Faculty in Karaj, Alborz Province.  

“Unsustainable farming practices, entry of infectious organisms into the country and unmethodical use of chemical pesticides are among the key factors contributing to the advance of drought and pests,” he said as quoted by Hamshahri online.

Today, a number of pathogens, which were traditionally regarded “as nothing more than a nuisance”, have emerged in large numbers to cause enormous damage to vegetation and crops, he noted.

Leopard moth in trees like walnut, vine pests and outbreak of Lepyrodiclis holosteoides in grains are among the major pests affecting agricultural products in Iran, according to the researcher.

“Protecting plants and crops against pests is a big challenge and a major focus of the IRIPP,” said Neyshaburi.

Ensuring food security and producing healthy food compatible with the environment in which they are grown, maintaining biodiversity and preserving genetic resources while exploiting them in an economic way are top priorities of the institute, he said.

The IRIPP also conducts studies on strategic crops, emerging and epidemic pests and biological control factors. It also tries to involve knowledge-based companies in the technical studies so as to improve the country’s phytopathologic knowledge.