Plants are under threat
Healthy plants have the potential to help alleviate hunger, reduce poverty, protect the environment, and promote economic development. But even though plants make up 80% of the food we eat and provide 98% of the oxygen we breathe, threats to their existence are in many cases still piling up.
According to recent data, up to 40% of food crops are lost because of plant pests every year, and this affects both food security and agriculture, the main source of income for vulnerable rural communities.
Climate change and human activities are also altering ecosystems and damaging biodiversity while creating new niches for pests to thrive in.
More, FAO says that protecting plants from pests is far more cost-effective than dealing with plant health emergencies. That’s because once established, crop pests are often difficult to eradicate and need to be controlled through sustainable pesticide and pest management.
Human health depends on plants
“On the first International Day of Plant Health, we reflect plant health innovations for food security,” said FAO Director-General QU Dongyu, adding that investment is needed in research to find more sustainable and versatile supplements to the human diet.
“We need to continue to raise the global profile of plant health transform agricultural systems to be more efficient, inclusive, flexible and sustainable“, he continued.
Plant protection is essential for people and for the planet, and that’s why the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has outlined a number of priorities for plant health, to coincide with Opening Day.
Focus on sustainable pest management and pesticides through promoting green and digital plant protection; and creating an environment conducive to plant health by promoting the health of soil, seeds and pollinators, is one of the key priorities.
FAO is calling on governments to prioritize plant health and its sustainable management in policy and legislation formulation, and rely on academia and research institutions to provide solutions based on science.
Why International Day?
Has been established as an important legacy of International Year of Plant Health 2020The International Day of Plant Health (IDPH) is designated to raise global awareness of how protecting plant health can help end hunger, reduce poverty, protect biodiversity and the environment, and time to promote economic development.
Backed by Zambia, it was unanimously adopted in a General Assembly resolution co-signed by Bolivia, Finland, Pakistan, the Philippines and Tanzania.
Following this year’s first IDPH, FAO will hold celebrations for the Day on 12 May every year at a global, regional, national and possibly even, on a farm level, near you. .