Protect plants to safeguard our future

  • Protect plants to safeguard our future image

The United Nations declared 12 May as the International Day of Plant Health to raise global awareness and take action to improve plant health and build a better future.

Plant health is key to the sustainable development of agriculture that is required to feed a growing global population by 2050.

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 fibres 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 affects food security and agriculture, the main source of income for vulnerable rural communities.

“By protecting plant health through a robust biosecurity system, we can work together to end hunger, reduce poverty, protect biodiversity and the environment, and boost economic development,” said Sarah Corcoran, CEO of Plant Health Australia (PHA).

Climate change and human activities also affect plant health by 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 causing pests and diseases to appear in places they were never seen before.

The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimates that agricultural production needs to rise by 60 per cent by 2050 to feed a larger and generally richer global population.

“Healthy plants constitute the foundation of all life on earth and we all have a role to play. Please join us in spreading awareness of this global call to action on this International Day of Plant Health,” said Ms Corcoran.

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