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Palestinian student discovers pesticide to combat tomato losses

February 11, 2014 at 9:43 am


A Palestinian masters student from the besieged Gaza Strip has discovered a pesticide to combat the anti-tuta absoluta moth, which causes the Palestinian farmers in the Strip huge losses.

This worm, which appeared in the Gaza Strip 5 years ago, damages tomato crops and in certain seasons, crops are actually lost to the pest. There is currently a severe shortage of tomatoes in Gaza causing severe price hikes. One kilo of tomatoes is now sold for $1.5.

Student Hala Moheesin, a masters student at the Islamic University of Gaza, spent hours conducting experiments despite shortages of lab tools and chemical materials.

Moheesin is a student in the department of chemistry that was targeted by Israeli warplanes in 2012. It was completely destroyed and all equipment and chemicals were damaged.

She discovered the new invention through the use of the Beauveria Bassinana fungus. It spreads around all the branches and leaves of the tomato plant and resisted the tuta absoluta moth.

According to Moheesin, the pesticide has 100 per cent effectivity against tuta absoluta and at the same time has no side effects on humans or the environment.

The siege on the Gaza Strip was the biggest obstacle facing Moheesin during her research. She had to order chemical materials which took a lot of time to arrive in Gaza.

The Palestinian ministry of agriculture in Gaza said it would conduct further experiments on the new pesticide before it was approved for a license.

MEMO Photographer: Mohammed Asad

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