We can hazard a guess that ensuring the quality of the plants you produce ranks fairly highly on your list of priorities? But with quality comes managing plant health, and this is very much affected by whether they are infected with diseases or troubled with pests. You may already know that the United Nations has declared 2020 as the International Year of Plant Health (IYPH). We explore the fundamentals of plant health and provide you with information, tips and resources to ensure your plants stay healthy.
Let’s start by understand why the United Nations are placing such an importance on Plant Health during 2020. Plants make up 80% of the food we eat and produce 98% of the oxygen we breathe. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that agricultural production needs to rise by around 60% by 2050 in order to feed a larger population. However, the worlds plants are under constant attack, with estimates stating that up to 40% of food crops are destroyed each year as a result of pests and diseases, which leave people without food and has a negative impact on the agriculture industry through loss of yields and income.
But what is contributing to the threat to plant health? Low biosecurity, poor plant hygiene and inadequate control of invasive species allows the large scale spreading of pests and diseases. At the same time, international trade and travel has tripled in volume over the last decade, which can quickly spread pests and diseases around the world. This leads to the loss of ecosystems, significant economic losses and the inability to grow certain crops.
Plant pests and diseases are often impossible to eradicate once they have established themselves and managing them is time consuming and expensive. Which is why the International Year of Plant Health (IYPH) 2020 emphasizes prevention and protection as key focus. Protecting plants from pests and diseases is far more cost-effective than dealing with full-blown emergencies, so prevention is critical to avoid the devastating impact of pests and diseases on agriculture, livelihoods and food security.
International Year of Plant Health (IYPH) is a once in a lifetime opportunity to raise global awareness on how protecting plant health can help end hunger, reduce poverty, protect the environment, and boost economic development - Food and Agriculture Organization
The IYPH 2020 have further information on their website, as well as details on events and conferences throughout 2020: http://www.fao.org/plant-health-2020
To sell high quality plants, you need to produce healthy plants. Plant pests and diseases lead to production and sales losses.
As a grower you need to be able to identify the pests and pathogens that might affect your crop. Then you need to understand how to treat the pests and pathogens to ensure that you get a good crop at the end of your cycle and reduce the risk of lost crops which could potentially have been avoided with earlier identification of pests and diseases.
We have developed this quick guide to getting to grips with the basics of plant health, which also lists other useful resources. Keep you eyes peeled as we have further resources on Plant Health coming up during the year, including webinars, insights and events.