The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) estimates 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.

Climate change and human activities have altered ecosystems, reducing biodiversity and creating new niches where pests can thrive. At the same time, international travel and trade has tripled in volume in the last decade and can quickly spread pests and diseases around the world causing great damage to native plants and the environment.

Protecting plants from pests and diseases is far more cost effective than dealing with full-blown plant health emergencies. Plant pests and diseases are often impossible to eradicate once they have established themselves and managing them is time consuming and expensive.

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.

The key messages are:

  • The IYPH 2020 emphasizes prevention and protection.
  • Everyone has a role to play.
  • People in the transportation industries need to make sure ships, airplanes, trucks and trains do not carry plant
    pests and diseases into new areas.
  • Governments should increase their support to national and regional plant protection organizations that are the first line of defence.

Read more about The International Year of the Plant on the FAO website:

Ref: ​FAO. 2019. International Year of Plant Health, 2020: Communication guide. Rome.