Important pests, diseases and weather conditions affecting apple production in Morocco: Current state and perspectives
Apple production represents 20% of the cultivated area of rosaceous fruit trees in Morocco. It forms the backbone of the economy for growers in the Ifrane Province. However, apples are subject to several pests, diseases and adverse weather conditions which cause significant economic losses to commercial fruit growers. The purpose of this literature review was to highlight apple pests, which include insects, diseases, and weeds, and establish the integrated pest management strategies. Several important pests posing problems for apple growers in the Ifrane Province include apple scab, apple powdery mildew, fire blight, apple tree root rot, codling moth, aphids, spider mites, scale insects and weeds. Adverse weather conditions cause water shortage, low chilling requirements, hailstorms and frosts. As a result, fruit quality is compromised by physical injury and reduced leaf area since the means of protecting the orchards are limited. The management of pests is based on the choice of rootstocks and cultivars. The orchard sanitation practices can reduce both active and dormant insects and pathogens. Emphasis will also be placed on biological control methods, as pesticide-intensive management practices pose substantial risks due to rising input costs, growing pesticide resistance, human health hazards and environmental degradation. Thus, the government restricts pesticide use.
Keywords: Apple, Morocco, disease, pest, pesticide, Meknes