Deputy Minister: Georgian Model of Fighting the Stink Bug is an Example to the World

The methods of fighting the Stink Bug and Georgia's experience in this field is being discussed at the international conference ‘Stink Bug - a Global Challenge,’ being held in Tbilisi. The conference is attended by the world’s leading entomologists, Georgian scientists and those of other countries of the Black Sea region, as well as farmers and representatives of the private sector.

The event was opened by Giorgi Khanishvili, the First Deputy Minister of Environment Protection and Agriculture.

“We are proud that the Georgian model of fighting the Stink Bug gained international recognition and brought significant results. Our farmers see that important moves were made in this direction, and the quantity of Stink Bug and the damage the pest could bring to nut trees was significantly reduced. Scientists worldwide state that the Georgian practice is unique in its results. I would like to thank everyone who was involved in the fight against the pest. Today, we can proudly say that we – the Georgian government, the Minister of Environment Protection and Agriculture and the population, managed to deal with a problem that for many states which are more developed than us still remains unresolved after decades,” Khanishvili said.

Within the framework of the conference, the participants are discussing the experiences of various countries in fighting the Stink Bug. As scientists noted at the event, Georgia has developed a unique, integrated system of fighting the pest based on the experience of other countries, and has achieved a significant result in a very short period of time. Such successful experience and practice will be included in the history of entomology as a guide to the fight against the pest.

“Within the framework of the scientific mission, prominent entomologists of the world who work on the Stink Bug issue gathered in Georgia,” stated Head of the Mission of Entomologists, Bil Lindgren. “We will create an information database which will give us the possibility to share this program, which was developed jointly by the United States Agency for International Development and the National Food Agency. Through the partnership and active collaboration of these organizations, significant results have been achieved in the fight against the Stink Bug. This program is amazing, one of the best, and it will enter the history of entomology as a guide to the fight against the pest. Thanks to this program, all sectors: state agencies, the local authorities, farmers and beekeepers, are involved in fight against the Stink Bug. I saw the damage brought by the Stink Bug in 2017-2018, when the nut harvest was almost destroyed. I’m glad that this year, the quality of nuts has returned to its original level, the quantity of harvest has also increased, and the price of nuts is up again to benefit the farmers and the country’s economy.”,

It was noted at the conference that such joint events bring many benefits to Georgian farmers in protecting their crops and income, while assisting scientists to conduct studies which will benefit both business and society.

As part of the conference, Georgian scientists will make reports on the biology of the pests and methods to fight it and American scientists will share knowledge on monitoring and control of the Stink Bug.

With the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), prominent scientists of three universities of the US and the Agricultural Research Service of the Department of Agriculture, Europe and Australia, are paying a special working visit to get acquainted with Georgia's experience and achievements in the fight against the Stink Bug.

The visit provides a unique opportunity to gather additional information and to share the latest information and knowledge with all the scientists involved in studies on the Stink Bug, which will help achieve the common goal of gaining control over the spread of the pest.

Within the framework of the visit, the scientists learned about the pest control activities in western Georgia and the situation on the ground. Along with the Minister of Environment Protection and Agriculture of Georgia Levan Davitashvili, they visited the Coordination Management Center for the Fight against Stink Bug in Abasha Municipality and discovered the specialized equipment there.

The Minister briefed the foreign scientists on the measures taken by the state in order to combat the pest.

“Georgia has achieved positive results and made significant progress in the fight against the Stink Bug. The country now has a lot of experience fighting the pest. Leading scientists worldwide are interested in this experience, with whom we actively collaborated from the very first day of the fight, a fight which will continue until the end of the year. It is important that farmers continue to be actively involved in the ongoing process to minimize pest populations before winter hibernation,”Davitashvili said.

During their visit to Georgia, the representatives of the Scientific Mission met with local farmers in Guria and Samegrelo and visited nut trees planted on their lands. Scientists were also introduced to the distribution methods.

“The result that Georgia has achieved in 18 months is incredible. Since 2017, since the launch of events, the Georgian side has been able to mobilize incredibly quickly,” Lingren said. “All the tools and methods are well used and today the results are already visible. We can boldly say that Georgia's experience in this regard is an example for the world.”

During the visit, the world's leading entomologists also visited the Botanical Garden in Ajara region and met with their Georgian colleagues.

Within the frames of the mission, scientists from the US assessed the invasion of the Stink Bug in Georgia and assisted both the government and the population of the Black Sea region by sharing their knowledge and information about the most effective measures to reduce the population of the pest to an economically acceptable level.

The US-Georgia partnership, within the frames of the scientific mission, began in 2018, during the first mission of the American side, organized by USAID, Georgia's Agricultural Efficiency Restoration Program (REAP), the international organization CNFA and the leading Insect Monitoring Systems and Pheromones manufacturer American company, Trécé Inc.

By Ana Dumbadze

29 August 2019 18:20