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Networking For Effecive Management Of Threats From Emerging Pests And Diseases Of Coconut

Of all the diverse insects, mites and diseases affecting the coconut palm, only some emerge as threats due to their invasive and injurious nature. Endemic organisms emerge as threats due to factors such as climate change, evolution of pesticide resistance as well as virulence matching host resistance. Generally, these threats are mostly short- medium-term since the respective countries have devised their own management practices over time. Movement of alien invasive species across national borders is a potential global threat to humans, agricultural production, indigenous ecosystem, and animal and plant health and gaining more and more attention in view of increasing travel and trade among countries To protect the coconut industry coconut growing countries worldwide must share the responsibility of finding solutions to cope with the risks and impact of emerging plant pests and diseases, particularly the introduction of invasive alien species.


Many countries affected by threatening pests and diseases have taken similar course of actions in prevention and management of such invasions. For prevention of new invasions promulgation/amendment of laws and regulations, pest risk analysis, strengthening of import and export inspection/quarantine and pest surveillance and raising public awareness has being the norm. To manage invasions identification and demarcate affected area, identification of the pest species/causal agent surveillance, carrying out emergency control measures such as physical and chemical control and sought biological control measures are the course of action taken. However, it is known from many examples of invasive pests such as coconut mite Aceria guerreronis, coconut hispine beetle Brontispa longissima, red mite Raoilla indica and coconut scale insect Aspidiotus rigidus and lethal diseases caused by phytoplasmas, how difficult it is to manage emerging pests and diseases, mainly due to limited knowledge of the species, lack of expertise and experience by the pest management specialists at the early stages of such invasions.


It is important to share human and economic resources efficiently and effectively to minimize emerging threats by having strong linkages among coconut growing countries. It would facilitate overcoming isolation, enable sharing of research and innovation, information and ideas, help diminish unnecessary duplication, and speed scientific innovations. To date, there  are  several  ongoing initiatives of networking in agriculture




research and innovation aiming at addressing both external and internal challenges from pests and diseases. There have been various conferences/symposia/workshops and international projects on invasive coconut pests and diseases to link scientists and pest management experts time to time, which have been very useful in managing invasive species of coconut. It is suggested establishing databases and networks on coconut invasive pests/diseases and link with existing pest/disease databases to strengthen cooperation among coconut growing countries to prevent and mitigate threats from emerging pests, facilitate communication and knowledge sharing, develop technologies on important aspects in IPM and even finding research funders to promote IPM implementation and adoption.

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