In recent years, it has been difficult to grow date palms in the Jordan Valley because of the Date Palm Weevil, which chews the trees, halting the growth of the dates and damaging their quality. Lately, the Plant Protection and Inspection Services have reported a sharp increase in the number of trappings of the pest and clear signs of damage to adult trees caused by the pest.
The Date Palm Weevil is a fly pest, which bores into date palms and eats them from within. The weevils are not noticed until after the tree is hollow inside and falls over. The inability to notice them and exterminate them early can lead to the destruction of whole date palm orchards and to great economic loss.
In recent months, the Civil Administration has been working, together with the Plant Protection and Inspection Services and with the Palestinian Authority, on a project to exterminate the pest and to limit the damage, as far as possible, to the many date palms in the Jordan Valley.
The growing of dates is one of the most developed branches of agriculture in the Jordan Valley, which has about 6,500 dunams [6.5 square kilometers] of date palms (most of them Medjool and Barchi), and large numbers of new plantings are made annually because of the potential financial gains to be achieved. Given the size of the area on which dates are grown, it is necessary to place some 300 traps containing substances (pheromones) to monitor the pest. “We received budget approval, and we are scheduled to begin placing the traps immediately after the month of Ramadan, from next month,” the deputy agricultural staff officer in Judea and Samaria, Mr. Eyman Assad, said.