The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2020 as the International Year of Plant Health (IYPH). In this context, many events will be organised to raise awareness on how protecting plant health can help end hunger, reduce poverty, protect the environment, and boost economic development.
By providing the knowledge to understand the threats and to develop the tools to address plant health challenges, research activities must hold a prominent place in modern societies.
PROTECTING PLANTS, PROTECTING LIFE
Plants are the source of the air we breathe and most of the food we eat, yet we often don’t think about keeping them healthy. This can have devastating results. FAO estimates that up to 40% of food crops are lost due to plant pests and diseases annually. This leaves millions of people without enough food to eat and seriously damages agriculture – the primary source of income for rural poor communities.
Protecting plants from pests and diseases is far more cost effective than dealing with full-blown plant health emergencies. Plant pests and diseases are often impossible to eradicate once they have established themselves and managing them is time consuming and expensive. Prevention is critical to avoiding the devastating impact of pests and diseases on agriculture, livelihoods and food security and many of us have a role to play.
THE ROLE OF INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT
We can both prevent plant pests and diseases, and tackle them, in environmentally friendly ways – such as through integrated pest management. This ecosystem approach combines different management strategies and practices to grow healthy crops while minimizing the use of pesticides. Avoiding poisonous substances when dealing with pests not only protects the environment, it also protects pollinators, natural pest enemies, beneficial organisms and the people and animals who depend on plants.
For more information visit the official website of FAO: http://www.fao.org/plant-health-2020/about/en/