Talking with a farmer in Fiji about the problems associated with using pesticides.  Credit: Michael Furlong.

UQ to improve management of agricultural pests and diseases in the Pacific

Embargoed until: Publicly released:

University of Queensland researchers will develop a program to help improve the livelihoods of farmers in the Pacific islands by tackling problems caused by pests and crop diseases.

Organisation/s: The University of Queensland

Media Release

From: The University of Queensland

University of Queensland researchers will develop a program to help improve the livelihoods of farmers in the Pacific islands by tackling problems caused by pests and crop diseases.

The program is the keystone of a five year project funded by a $4.4 million grant from The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research.

Dr Michael Furlong, an applied entomologist from UQ’s School of Biological Sciences, said developing sustainable solutions for farmers was vital.

“The project will work with Pacific island governments to promote biological control of insect pests as part of an overall approach to sustainable agriculture,” he said.

“The production of high-value fruit and vegetable crops free from unsafe agrochemicals is a priority in many Pacific island countries.

“These chemicals can be expensive and often have adverse effects on the environment and human health.

“This grant gives us a real opportunity to help improve the livelihoods of farming families and their communities by significantly improving the ways in which crop pests and diseases are managed over the longer term.”

The researchers will develop a regional ‘Plant Health Clinic’ program, which will train ministry and NGO extension staff to run clinics where farmers can have crop problems diagnosed and get advice on how to manage pests and diseases.

“This will increase the capacity of national ministries and help poor farmers deal with difficult production issues at a time when food security presents a serious problem,” Dr Furlong said.

UQ will partner on the project with regional organisation, Pacific Community, the agriculture ministries of Fiji, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Tonga and the National Agricultural Research Institute in Papua New Guinea.

News for:

Australia
QLD

Multimedia:

  • spider eating pests
    spider eating pests

    A spider eats a pest insect in a crop that has not been sprayed with synthetic pesticide. These predators are also important biological control agents of pests.

    File size: 185.2 KB

    Attribution: Michael Furlong

    Permission category: Free to share (must credit)

    Last modified: 11 Aug 2018 12:01am

    NOTE: High resolution files can only be downloaded here by registered journalists who are logged in.

  • A parasitic wasp (Diadegma) attacking its host caterpillar
    A parasitic wasp (Diadegma) attacking its host caterpillar

    A parasitic wasp (Diadegma) attacking its host caterpillar. This and similar wasps are important biological control agents of pest insects, but they are destroyed by pesticides. The project will develop ways to conserve them and introduce them into agricultural fields where they are currently absent.

    File size: 2.7 MB

    Attribution: Michael Furlong

    Permission category: Free to share (must credit)

    Last modified: 11 Aug 2018 12:01am

    NOTE: High resolution files can only be downloaded here by registered journalists who are logged in.

  • Talking with a farmer in Fiji about the problems associated with using pesticide
    Talking with a farmer in Fiji about the problems associated with using pesticide

    Talking with a farmer in Fiji about the problems associated with using pesticides.

    File size: 10.5 MB

    Attribution: Michael Furlong

    Permission category: Free to share (must credit)

    Last modified: 11 Aug 2018 12:04am

    NOTE: High resolution files can only be downloaded here by registered journalists who are logged in.

  • Farmers examining a sweet potato weevil sex pheromone trap in Fiji
    Farmers examining a sweet potato weevil sex pheromone trap in Fiji

    Farmers examining a sweet potato weevil sex pheromone trap in Fiji

    File size: 8.3 MB

    Attribution: Michael Furlong

    Permission category: Free to share (must credit)

    Last modified: 11 Aug 2018 12:03am

    NOTE: High resolution files can only be downloaded here by registered journalists who are logged in.

  • Farmers receive advice from a “plant doctor” at a plant health clinic in Samoa.
    Farmers receive advice from a “plant doctor” at a plant health clinic in Samoa.

    Farmers receive advice from a “plant doctor” at a plant health clinic in Samoa.

    File size: 5.6 MB

    Attribution: Michael Furlong

    Permission category: Free to share (must credit)

    Last modified: 11 Aug 2018 12:05am

    NOTE: High resolution files can only be downloaded here by registered journalists who are logged in.

  • A plant destroyed by insecticide resistant caterpillars in PNG
    A plant destroyed by insecticide resistant caterpillars in PNG

    A plant destroyed by insecticide resistant caterpillars in PNG

    File size: 5.8 MB

    Attribution: Michael Furlong

    Permission category: Free to share (must credit)

    Last modified: 11 Aug 2018 12:04am

    NOTE: High resolution files can only be downloaded here by registered journalists who are logged in.

Show less
Show more

Media contact details for this story are only visible to registered journalists.