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Thailand receives FAO Edouard Saouma Award

Thailand receives FAO Edouard Saouma Award for its international recognition in containing spread of Cassava Pink Mealybug in Greater Mekong Subregion

9/06/2015, Rome, Italy and Bangkok, Thailand – The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) today announced the winner of its biennial Edouard Saouma Award.

The award will be conferred to Thailand’s Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MOAC) for its effective and efficient implementation of an FAO funded Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) to reverse the damages caused to sub-regional cassava crops by a pest – the pink mealybug.

The Edouard Saouma Award recognizes Thailand’s critical role – and, in particular, that of the MOAC’s Departments of Agriculture and Agricultural Extension and the Thai Tapioca Development Institute – for their efficient implementation of this TCP, and the success that is now well recognized in Thailand and other countries in the Greater Mekong Subregion.

“The government and its partners worked very effectively in their coordinated efforts to stop the damage being done to this very important regional crop and by containing the spread of this very harmful pest which affected cassava production seriously,” said Hiroyuki Konuma, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific.

The cassava pink mealybug has caused millions of dollars in damages to cassava crops in Thailand and across the subregion, affecting or threatening the livelihoods of some three million smallholder cassava farmers in Thailand as well as Cambodia, Lao PDR and Viet Nam. Indonesia has also suffered losses.

To combat this invasive crop pest species, and in tandem with the FAO supported TCP, Thailand introduced from Benin, West Africa, the parasitoid Anagyrus lopezi for biocontrol of the mealybug. This, along with releases of local biological control agents (predatory lacewings), and together with ecological pest management training efforts of field extension workers and farmers, provided effective control of the pest and stopped its spread.

Established in 1993, this biennial award pays tribute to former FAO Director-General (1976-1993), Edouard Saouma for his conception and implementation of the Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP). The Award consists of an inscribed medal, a scroll describing the winner’s achievements and a cash prize of US$ 25 000. The announcement was made during the FAO Conference, presently underway in Rome. The award will be presented later at a special ceremony by the Director-General.

ENDS


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