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September 20, 2010
Insect destroys Chouf's mountain tomatoes

Insect destroys Chouf's mountain tomatoes

CHOUF: An unusual insect has destroyed over 80 percent of mountain tomato crops in the Chouf, and farmers are complaining the Agriculture Ministry is not doing enough to tackle it.
The bug, which appeared during the summer and is believed by local farmers to be a product of the unusually hot weather, has been threatening the harvest of mountain tomatoes – a type of Lebanese tomato which is bigger than other breeds and is grown toward the end of summer.
The insect was dubbed “the black butterfly” by local farmers, who said the damage it is causing is tremendous.
Barouk farmer Ramez Zahreddine told The Daily Star that over 80 percent of this year’s crop has been destroyed and the insect is continuing to cause damage. “It starts by eating away at the leaves and then infiltrates the fruit and lays its eggs deep inside the plant … It’s multiplying quickly because of the weather,” he said.
Farmers are struggling to control the insect because of its fast movement and reproduction, but also because of a lack of pesticides.
Only one type of insect repellent is currently available, but farmers claim it is not effective. They have asked the Agriculture Ministry to intervene and provide the necessary chemicals

“This is one of the most dangerous problems we’ve encountered in Lebanon … This is a test for the ministry,” said farmer Toufiq Abu Alwan.
arvesting mountain tomatoes is the main source of livelihood for many in the Chouf.
Hassan Halawi said he has invested LL27 million into cultivating mountain tomatoes this year but has only earned LL 5 million back

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Planted forests and the international policy framework  August 3, 2010

Planted forests and the international policy framework

The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, recognized the significance of planted forests in supporting sustainable forest management as reflected in the Forest Principles, referenced to Chapter 11 of Agenda 21 that states:

“The role of planted forests and permanent agricultural crops as sustainable and environmentally sound sources of renewable energy and industrial raw material should be recognized, enhanced and promoted. Their contribution to the maintenance of ecological processes, to off-setting pressure on primary/old growth forests, and to providing regional employment and development with the adequate involvement of local inhabitants should be recognized and enhanced” (UNCED, 1992).

Subsequently both the Intergovernmental Panel of Forests (IPF) and the Intergovernmental Forum on Forests (IFF) developed and promoted a diverse range of proposals for sustainable forest management, including those related to planted forests. An International Expert Consultation on the Role of Planted Forests in Sustainable Forest Management was hosted by Chile (and four partner countries) in1999 to prepare recommendations for action to the IFF on enhancing the role of planted forests in sustainable forest management.

The United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) was established in 2000 to promote the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests and to strengthen long term political commitment. Planted forests were recognized in the recommendations for action within the UNFF mandate. A UNFF Intersessional Experts Meeting was hosted by New Zealand (with 9 partner countries and 4 international organizations) on the Role of Planted Forests in Sustainable Forest Management in 2003. The purpose of the meeting was to maximize the contribution of planted forests to sustainable forest management, support country actions, build consensus and informed dialogue and support the UNFF in implementing its work programme.

The XIII World Forestry Congress (WFC), Buenos Aires, 2009 highlighted that in view of the growing global population and demand for forest resources, planted forests will become an increasingly important part of the landscape along with cities and towns, agricultural lands, and indigenous forests. In its final communiqué the WFC stressed that planted forests provide the opportunity to produce more goods and services from less land and that they effectively contribute to climate change mitigation, degraded land restoration and other environmental benefits. Development and management of these forests need to be done within a sustainability framework that allows consideration of potential risks, such as pressure on other land uses and effects on water, and biodiversity, along with the expected benefits. Finding the appropriate balance among all land uses requires a more integrated consideration of the services and values that each provides from the environmental, social, and economic standpoint. Highlighted actions included recognition of the importance of planted forests in meeting economic, social and environmental needs; focus on degraded landscapes, especially restoration of degraded forest lands; and development and implementation of technologies to maintain and enhance the productivity of planted forests and their contributions at local and landscape levels (World Forestry Congress, 2009).