Khalifa International Award for Date Palm and Agricultural Innovation, hosts
Dr. Safa Qamari, by organizing a scientific virtual lecture on
With the attendance of 120 experts and specialists in the Date Palm cultivation sector, and representing 19 countries.
Khalifa International Award for Date Palm and Agricultural Innovation General Secretariat, organized a scientific virtual lecture on the “The importance of germplasm health in preventing the spread of transboundary plant pests and diseases”, presented by Dr. Safa Qamari, Head of the Seed Health and Viral Diseases Laboratory, affiliated with the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), on Monday 29th of November, 2021, with the attendance of 120 experts and specialists in the Date Palm cultivation sector, and representing 19 Arab countries. Dr. Abdelouahhab Zaid, Award’s Secretary General, noted that this virtual lecture comes under the directives of H.E. Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, Chairman of the Award’s Board of Trustees, and within the Award’s framework and commitment to spread the scientific knowledge and awareness specialized in date palm cultivation production.
From her side, Dr. Qamari presented the importance of plant pests and diseases and their impact on food security, examples of exotic invasive plant pests and diseases that cross borders, as well as international germplasm banks and their strategically important plant origins, how the movement of germplasm and international health units takes place, and what they are, the measures and procedures followed for the safe movement of genetic assets, in addition to the most important challenges.
Dr. Qamari also emphasized that seeds / germplasm is an important pathway for the spread of pests and plant diseases through human activities, by collection and distribution. Dr. Qamari then noted that pests have increased significantly recently, through global trade, environmental and climatic changes, insects, and trade in seeds and agricultural products.
Dr. Qamari then explained the types of diseases that result from pests, and that are transmitted through seed transmission, such as: poor germination, decrease in seed size, discoloration and cracking of the seed coat, spread of diseases in new areas, and the production of some toxins from infected seeds (such as Ergot), etc. For example, infestations with the fungi (Botrytis) and (Ascochyta) cause unwanted discolorations or spots on the seed coats of legumes, making the seeds less valuable for harvesting, affecting storage and germination. Wheat production is also severely affected by seed-borne diseases such as common smut and loose smut, resulting in lower crop yields and poor grain quality. Dr. Qamari then asked what can we do as a plant pathologist to maintain global diets? The answer was: proper planning and decision, quick action, crops resistant to diseases and insect pests, and the safe exchange of germplasm to prevent the international spread of pests and plant diseases.
Dr. Qamari, then concluded the lecture by highlighting the great role played by the Khalifa International Award for Date Palm and Agricultural Innovation in supporting and developing the date palm cultivation sector and the date production worldwide, through the organizing of Jordan International Date Palm Festival, Sudan International Date Palm Festival, and Egypt International Date Palm Festival and the accompanying activities and events. Which actively contributed to the increase of the reputation of the Arab dates and the volume of exports, in addition to the series of international conferences organized by the Award’s General Secretariat.