Did you know plants make up 80% of the food we eat, and 98% of the oxygen we breathe?!
Unfortunately, these lifesavers are under threat. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations estimates that annually between 20 to 40 percent of global crop production are lost to pests and diseases.
We need to protect plants both for people and the planet. The United Nations has designated today International Day of Plant Health to raise global awareness on how protecting plant health can help end hunger, reduce poverty, protect biodiversity and the environment, and boost economic development.
There are also of course plant health principles that apply to our New Zealand kiwifruit sector – mainly, prevention and traceability.
Protecting plants from pests and diseases is far more cost effective than dealing with plant health emergencies. Plant pests and diseases are often impossible to eradicate once they have established themselves and managing their spread is time consuming and expensive. This is one of the reasons the new Pathway Management Plan is so important as it helps us manage biosecurity risk associated with plant health and the movement of all plant material so that as an industry we are all more resilient, and more prepared.