International Day of Plant Health – 12 May

The United Nations designated 12 May the International Day of Plant Health (IDPH) to raise global awareness of how protecting plant health can help end hunger, reduce poverty, protect biodiversity and the environment, and boost economic development. The Day is a key legacy of the International Year of Plant Health 2020.

Both our health and the health of our planet depend on plants. Plants are the source of the oxygen we breathe, much of the food we eat, the fibers that make our clothes and natural building materials. Yet, up to 40 percent of food crops are lost due to plant pests and diseases every year. This is affecting food security and agriculture, the main source of income for vulnerable rural communities.

Climate change and human activities are also affecting plant health, altering ecosystems and damaging biodiversity while creating new niches for pests to thrive. International travel and trade, which has tripled in volume in the last decade, is making pests and diseases appear in places they were never seen before.

Keeping plants healthy is essential for life on earth and all of us have a role to play. Join us for the global call to action this #PlantHealthDay on 12 May!

Plant health in numbers:

      • Plants make up 80 percent of the food we eat and produce 98 percent of the oxygen we breathe.
      • Plant pests and diseases are responsible for the loss of up to 40 percent of global food crops, and for trade losses exceeding USD 220 billion in agricultural products annually.
      • An adult Desert locust can consume roughly its own weight, about 2 grams, in food every day. A 1 km2-sized swarm of 40 million Desert Locust could eat the same amount of food in one day as about 35,000 people.
      • The annual value of trade in agricultural products has grown almost three-fold over the past decade, largely in emerging economies and developing countries, reaching USD 1.7 trillion.
      • FAO estimates that agricultural production must rise by about 60 percent by 2050 in order to feed a larger and generally richer population.
      • Climate change threatens to reduce not only the quantity of crops, lowering yields, but also the nutritious value. Rising temperatures also mean that more plant pests and diseases are appearing earlier and in places they were never seen before.
      • Fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) is one of the most ubiquitous and destructive crop pests in the world, feasting on more than 80 different kinds of crops, including staple food security crops like wheat, rice, and sorghum. In 2021, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), through the Global Action for Fall Armyworm Control, successfully supported eight demonstration countries and more than 50 pilot countries in strengthening fall armyworm prevention, preparedness and management capacities by reaching over 107 000 participants through various training and
        outreach events and contributing to reduction of significant losses in maize yield.

How to participate: 

      • Make plant health a commitment this #PlantHealthDay. Get people talking by posting interesting plant health facts on your channels this #PlantHealthDay.
      • Organise an event such as a morning tea or promotional activity to get involved.

Resources:

Everything you need to create your own event and promote International Day of Plant Health is right here, including posters, social media images, email banners, digital meeting backgrounds, bunting and cupcake flags.

 

More information:

Visit: International Day of Plant Health, 12 May | Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (fao.org)