Palestinian strawberry growers welcome bugs to farms pilot project

After years in which insects have been optimizing Israeli crop growth by serving as biological pesticides, the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria has begun to bring these same friendly bugs to West Bank Palestinian farmers.

Five Palestinian strawberry growers, from the Tulkarm and Jenin areas, are taking part in a pilot program to bring integrated pest management – the combined use of natural insect and chemical pesticides – to their strawberry plots.

By employing wasps to combat destructive aphids, farmers are able to decrease the use of chemical pesticides by about 80 percent, strengthening consumer health and increasing the product value, according to the Civil Administration.

The administration has been conducting meetings between the Palestinian growers and Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu-based BioBee Biological Systems Ltd., which specializes in natural pesticide use, over the past three months. During these sessions, the farmers studied the various diseases and pests that threaten strawberries, as well as the employment of both natural pesticides and permitted chemical preparations to combat their spread. Continue reading…

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