The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has declared 2020 as the International Year of Plant Health (IYPH). Yearlong activities will put the focus on the importance of protecting plant health and how it can end hunger, reduce poverty, protect the environment and boost economic development.
Today, plant health is under threat from a multitude of factors foremost among them being climate change and increasing travel – both have escalated the spread and establishment of new plant pests and diseases.
The United Nations (UN) estimates that over 40% of food crops are lost due to plant pests and diseases annually. The introduction and subsequent establishment of pests and diseases not only impact food and nutrition security but directly affects the livelihoods of millions of farmers.
CARDI has been a key stakeholder, collaborating with multiple agencies to help manage the incursions of agricultural pests and diseases across the Region. Through partnerships, CARDI has been able to develop strategies to control the devastating coffee berry borer in Jamaica and the sugarcane moth borer in Barbados. Through the promotion of IPM Strategies, CARDI under the USAID funded IPM/CRSP Program was able to reduce the pests interceptions from 38% to 2.5% over a ten year period for Amaranth/Callaloo. This enabled Callaloo produced in Jamaica to be reinstated on the Pre Clearance List saving thousands of dollars in pre clearance fees annually. In the OECS, CARDI has been instrumental in controlling the devastating impact of the sweet potato weevil and more recently the Black Sigatoka Disease (BSD). In the early 2000s CARDI also contributed to the resuscitation of regional trade in fresh produce disrupted by the Pink Mealybug.
As we join the global community in celebrating the IYPH, CARDI looks forward to sharing with you impacts of our work across the Region on protecting plant health.