STAFF REPORT ISB: The Agriculture University, Faisalabad, has taken up the gauntlet of preparing a national policy on pests as Pakistan is facing tougher warning because of fruit fly problem.

The stakeholders will gather next week at the university to thrash out its contours. Such a policy has been long overdue.

The international community has demonstrated that over 80pc of fruit fly losses could be controlled through better management practices

On the next level, the policy must have two prongs; killing the pest at source and risk management strategy throughout the supply and export chain.

For killing the pest at source, building human resource at the plant protection departments and provincial extension services is the core issue. Unfortunately, both have been weakest point in the production system.

It can also introduce specialised extension service for horticultural products. Pakistan so far has limited its agricultural extension service to four main crops – cotton, cane, rice and wheat.

The farmers should be given full standard operating procedures with each stage requiring specific measures to deal with the pest.

The treated fruits should be clearly marked and packed in different colours so that they dont mix with the untreated ones, marring the entire process.

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