Due to increased public interest, we will provide you with the information and activities against the brown marmorated stink bug, that will be implemented by the Government in 2018. The mobilization of technical means to fight against the Asian stink bug envisaged under the strategy will be held within the specified timeframe, therefore, due to existing challenge, timely provision of necessary care, equipment, supplies and measures for plant protection is essential. The 2018 Strategy project to fight against the Asian stink bug is already developed, It should be noted, that the strategy is based on the extensive experience gained in 2017 and recommendations taken from international and Georgian experts. Accordingly the strategy includes three main directions: active information campaigns, full-scale monitoring and anti-pest measures (chemical treatment).
As a result of the massive information campaign, we were able to provide population with the comprehensive information about the biology and methods of fighting against the invasive pest. The population is fully aware that without their involvement government support will not sufficient for them and we will not be able to achieve positive results. Considering the 2018 Strategy project to fight against the Asian stink bug, in accordance with the December 2017 amendments put into the Law on the State Budget, the Ministry of Finance allocated an additional 35 million gel to undertake measures against the Asian stink bug, including purchase of drugs (pesticides) and appropriate equipment. According to the Public Procurement Act, the National Food Agency carried out above-mentioned procedures prescribed by law, therefore, under the simplified procurement conditions, three suppliers (It should be noted that all drug supplier companies were involved in the process) bought chemical pesticides, for which 15 million has been allocated.
In addition, under the frame of the above mentioned budget, in 2018 the monitoring on Asian stink bug will be enhanced and carried out throughout the country. The government will purchase more than 100 thousand pheromones which will be spread across the country. The state is planning to apply chemical treatments on million hectares of land to fight against the invasive bug. For this purpose, the use of 360 tons of drugs is considered. Within the allocated budget, 120 special off-road vehicles will be purchased (70 high-speed cars with a thermal fog aggregate, 50 small-size spraying equipment) for which the state will spend 20 million GEL.
In addition, under the international assistance format, USAID considers to purchase 17 tractor aggregates, 17 pieces of equipment will be bought by the European Union, 37 Off-road cars from China under the technical support. Agriculture throughout the world, including Georgia, often faces a variety of challenges, in this respect, it should be noted, that global climate change likely results in an increased amount of new pests to appear. We have been implementing a state program against the American white butterfly and Italian locust. As a result of the activities carried out over the years, the population of invasive pests is almost controled and economic losses are reduced to a minimum.
Georgia is a new environment for Asian stink bug and its population is not controlled biologically, it means that the invasive pest does not have a natural enemy, therefore, in order to prevent the reproduction, pest control should be implemented through chemical and mechanical means. It is important to note, that the strategy for combating the Asian stink bug envisages a biological laboratory to establish in Georgia, where natural enemies / parasites against the pest will be studied and observed. In 2018, the interagency coordination headquarter will be launched, which will be comprised of representatives of various ministries and departments. The society is aware that Asian stink bug is a dangerous pest, that damages agricultural, forest and decorative crops, unfortunately , mobilization of human and technical resources will take years.
It is important to note that in 2016-2017, in the process of developing methods and measures to fight against the Asian stink bug in Georgia, the Ministry cooperated with the following organizations and qualified specialists:
• Director General of the Intergovernmental Organization for Plant Protection of Europe and Mediterranean Countries (EPPO)Martin Ward
• General Secretary of International Convention on Plant Protection (IPPC)
• Professor at university in PennsylvaniaGregory Kawchuk
The company "Agri Georgia" organized a meeting, where leading specialists invited from different countries shared their experience against the invasive pest, The list included:
• Chairman of the Committee on Research on Nut crops Council,Giuseppe Kalkani
• Head of Biological Control Laboratory in Switzerland, Tim Hey
• Entomologist (Canada), Tara Gariepy
The consultation group has been created at the Research Center of the Ministry of Environment Protection and Agriculture, therefore, in the process of developing methods against the Asian stink bug the Ministry is ready to cooperate with all parties (including Georgian and foreign scientists).