NGIA welcomes UN proclamation of 2020 as International Year of Plant Health

On 20 December, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming 2020 as the International Year of Plant Health (IYPH).

The year is expected to increase awareness among the public and policy makers of the importance of healthy plants and the necessity to protect them in order to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

“Pest and disease management is the most important priority for the Australian nursery and garden industry,” said Karen Brock, President of Nursery & Garden Industry Australia (NGIA).

“NGIA welcomes this proclamation wholeheartedly. Without a doubt, we will work to maximise every opportunity it brings to improve the awareness and preparedness of our Members and the Australian public with regards to plant pest and disease. “

The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) together with the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) claim that the economic value of plant diseases alone cost the global economy around US$220 billion (AUD$308 billion) annually and invasive insects around US$70 billion (AUD$98 billion).

Karen stated plant health is a key focus of the Nursery Production FMS program which is administered by NGIA. She commented that the national program which began in 1996 incorporates best management practice, through the Nursery Industry Accreditation Scheme, Australia – NIASA, the environmental and natural resource management system EcoHort and the levy funded on-farm biosecurity program, BioSecure HACCP. She noted these programs are a fantastic resource for Industry and a key vehicle for growers to ensure that they are effectively managing their plant health risks.

IPPC Secretary Jingyuan Xia said the International Year of Plant Health was a key initiative to highlight the importance of plant health to enhance food security, protect the environment and biodiversity, and boost economic development.

“We could not agree more. In fact, along with developing markets and reducing costs, protecting our industry’s investment is a key focus area of our national organisation moving forward”, said Karen.

“The timing of this announcement could not have been better for our Industry. As we continue to build our living green community, we are perfectly placed to continue promoting the benefits of greenlife and the need to protect it.”

Healthy plants are the foundation for all life, ecosystem functions and food security. Plant pests and diseases damage crops, reducing the availability of food and increasing its cost. Sustaining plant health protects the environment, forests and biodiversity from plant pests, addresses the effects of climate change, and supports efforts to end hunger, malnutrition and poverty.

For more information on the International Year of Plant Health visit https://www.ippc.int/en/iyph/
For more information on Nursery Production FMS visit www.nurseryproductionfms.com.au or contact Chris O’Connor at NGIA on 1800 252 468.