2020 - International Year of Plant Health
The United Nations has declared 2020 as the International Year of Plant Health (IYPH).
Organic growers know that a healthy plant is cornerstone to growing success. We feed the soil to feed the plant – which in turn feeds us and other creatures in the growing area.
But the UN is concentrating on the bigger picture. They say “Plants are the source of the air we breathe and most of the food we eat, yet we often don’t think about keeping them healthy. This can have devastating results.
It is estimated that up to 40% of food crops are lost due to plant pests and diseases annually. This leaves millions of people without enough food to eat and seriously damages agriculture - the primary source of income for rural poor communities.”
They argue that “climate change and human intervention into ecosystems has reduced biodiversity. At the same time, international travel and trade has tripled in volume in the last decade. This quickly spreads pests and diseases around the world - causing great damage to native plants and the environment.
“Plant health is increasingly under threat. Prevention is critical to avoiding the devastating impact of pests and diseases on agriculture, livelihoods and food security and many of us have a role to play.”
How can organic growers help?
• By avoiding poisonous substances when dealing with pests. This protects pollinators as well as the natural pest predators.
• Keeping the growing area healthy, preventing diseases before they affect plants
• Avoiding taking plants from their natural habitats overseas, either by mail or when on holiday.
• Supporting organic farmers, who strive to maintain a healthy growing area using preventative and non-toxic methods. And buying their produce whenever possible.
Let’s celebrate the International Year of Plant Health!