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EU and FAO share best practices of Conservation Agriculture and Integrated Pest Management

EU and FAO share best practices of Conservation Agriculture and Integrated Pest Management

10 September, 2019 – The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) under the ENPARD programme of the European Union, held a Farmer Field Day for the farmers and stakeholders in Lagodekhi, Georgia.  Mr. Georges Dehoux, newly appointed Programme Manager and Agricultural Attaché of the EU Delegation to Georgia also joined the event. 
FAO expert Allan Pineda explained the benefits of Conservation Agriculture in maize production and demonstrated the minimum-tillage of soil which reduces the risks and impact of climate change and increases productivity sustainably, reducing greenhouse gases emissions. The participants visited the maize, eggplant and sweet corn production demo plots which were established using Climate Smart Agiculture and Good Agriculture Practices by FAO experts together with the lead farmers. The hosts shared their knowledge and experience acquired during the plot arrangements, focusing on the soil preparation, irrigation, fertigation and Integrated Pest Management programmes. 
Carl Bannon, an expert agronomist from California talked about the Integrated Pest Management system used in the United States to fight Beet Armyworm (Spodoptera exigua), a maize pest that has been affecting maize production in Kakheti this year. Bannon also introduced the Beet Armyworm moth traps, one more method for monitoring for crop protection.
“For my first field visit in Georgia, I was very happy to witness some practical, and quite impressive I might add, applications of FAO and EU collaboration under the ENPARD programme. This collaboration, which has been on-going for nearly 6 years now, aims at supporting agricultural and rural development in the country, by bringing international expertise and knowledge to Georgian rural folks. The EU remains committed to this programme and improving the lives of the population of Georgia’s rural regions,” – Mr. Georges Dehoux stated.
The event was held in support to the agricultural extension services which is one of the components of the FAO-ENPARD project which supports the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia (MEPA) in the implementation of the National Strategy for Agricultural Extension 2018-2019. FAO organizes farmer field schools, theoretical and practical training activities for lead farmers, ICCs and interns from Agrarian University. Within the project FAO experts arrange various types of demonstration plots of potatoes, wheat, maize, cucumber, eggplant and sweet corn, focusing on the municipalities of Dedoplistskaro, Akhalkalaki, Khazbegi and Lagodekhi.
The EU is supporting agriculture and rural development in Georgia through its ENPARD Programme. Implemented since 2013 with a total budget of EUR 179.5 million, the main goal of ENPARD is to reduce rural poverty in Georgia. The first phase of ENPARD in Georgia focused on developing the potential of agriculture. The second and third phases of ENPARD focus on creating economic opportunities for rural population that go beyond agricultural activities. More information on ENPARD is available at: www.enpard.ge.