2020 – International Year of Plant Health

Contributor: Diane Fisher

Each year – the United Nations selects a focused theme for the year and in 2020 it is “Plant Health”. In Australia the focus will be led by Plant Health Australia and the Department of Agriculture to coordinate the promotion across our nation.

The slogan adopted is Protecting plants, protecting life with the goal being to raise awareness within government, industry and the wider community.

There are four goals for the year:

  • Work together in protecting the world’s plants against the spread of devastating pests
  • Encourage scientific innovation to address pest threats
  • Promote responsible practices that reduce pest spread
  • Increase public and private sector support for more sustainable plant health strategies and services

Some conversation facts as to why this should be a focus for our globe:

  • Annually across the globe the cost of plant disease is AUD$308 billion, to put that figure in perspective, that’s equivalent to the annual revenue of Switzerland
  • Annually across the globe invasive insect destruction represents AUD$115 billion – or the annual revenue of New Zealand
  • Invasive insect destruction wipes out up to 40% of the global food production – each year.

We each have a role to play in this initiative, whether it is our actions as we travel into Australia, or our own actions in the veggie patch in the back yard. Pest free and sustainable disease free plants, and the preservation of the chief pollinators – our bee population is something to which we can all contribute.

Reference material for further research:

Plant Health Australia

Australia’s Chief Plant Protection Officer – Mr Kim Ritman