FAO lauds Plant Health Day

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has welcomed a UN decision to establish an annual International Day of Plant Health. Plant health is critical in addressing global hunger. Plant pests and diseases cause massive crop losses and leave millions without enough food.
Every 12th of May, the day highlights how healthy plants constitute the foundation for all life on Earth and ecosystem functions, food security, and nutrition. FAO added that plant health is key to the sustainable development of agriculture required to feed a growing global population by 2050.
"The International Day of Plant Health will be an opportunity to highlight the crucial importance of plant health, both and as part of our One Health approach. An initiative encompassing human, animal, and ecosystem health," said FAO Deputy Director-General Beth Bechdol. "It could not be more vital to make sure that we do everything to maximise the food resources our planet can provide."
FAO estimates that plant pests and diseases cause up to 40% of food crop losses. The damage they cause to agriculture exacerbates the current issue of growing world hunger and threatens rural livelihoods.
Jingyuan Xia, director of FAO's Plant Production and Protection Division, said sustaining plant health promotes food security and nutrition while protecting the environment and biodiversity. Healthy plants also boost livelihoods and economic growth.
The agency said that protecting plants from pests and diseases is more cost-effective than dealing with plant health emergencies. Once established, plant pests and diseases are often impossible to eradicate, and managing them is time-consuming and expensive.
Osama El-Lissy, Secretary of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), said:
"Making the general public more aware of the role of plant health and the ways we need to act urgently to curb the risks of plant pests and diseases, as well as understanding how to restrict the spread of invasive pests will make a significant contribution to global food security."

(Image from Unsplash)

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