11 May 2017, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe - Mr Godfrey Mutero, foresters gang supervisor, takes a measurement from a Eucalyptus plant before harvesting at Chesa Forest Research Station in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. FAO and the ASTF fund are supporting investigation, surveys, training and management practices to address food contamination, animal and plant pests and diseases and their impact on the productivity of food, crops, livestock, fisheries and forest resources in the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
In Zimbabwe, a strong focus has been on controlling invasive plant pests. Three alien invasive species (IAS) are severely affecting Zimbabwean Eucalyptus trees and woodlots throughout the country. This threat was first recorded in 2007. Some tree nurseries have experienced 100% mortality. The three pests are the Leptocybe invasa (Blue Gum Chalcid), Glycaspis brimblecombei (Red gum Lerp Psyllid), and Thaumastocoris peregrinas (Bronze Bug). Biological controls, such as the Selitrichodes Neseri insect from the South Africa have been introduced. Initial results show these measures are successful, reducing forest, economic and livelihood losses.