The Azerbaijan Agricultural Training and Development Center (AgroCenter) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and) hosted an event to warn government and private-sector agribusiness professionals of a serious emerging threat to Azerbaijan’s agriculture. The Brown Marmorated Stinkbug is an invasive insect that feeds on over 200 varieties of fruits and vegetables. Native to East Asia, stinkbug is new pest in the South Caucasus region, destroying over $100 million of Georgia’s fruit and hazelnuts in 2017 alone.
Since the stinkbug can travel long distances very easily - flying over 100 kilometers per day or travelling in cars and trucks - it has spread rapidly across Georgia, and has recently been found in Shamkir. If the stinkbug spreads in Azerbaijan at the same rate as in Georgia, it will be necessary for the public and private sector to rapidly work together to contain the threat.
USAID took action to monitor the threat in 2017 and plans to expand monitoring efforts in 2018. In partnership with the AgroCenter, USAID has developed a stinkbug monitoring plan to cover all of the areas of Azerbaijan that the pest might attack.
USAID and the AgroCenter will continue to raise awareness of this threat, and are prepared to work with the Azerbaijani government to develop an action plan in case the pest begins to attack the fruits and nuts that are so vital to economy and rural livelihoods in Azerbaijan.