International Day of Plant Health is celebrated on May 12. The United Nations raise global awareness about how protecting plant health can help end hunger, reduce poverty, protect biodiversity and the environment, and boost economic development.
By focusing on improving plant health through better pest control, irrigation systems, and more effective farming practices, we can help reduce famine and ensure more equitable access to nutritious foods.
Why International Day of Plant Health is a must celebration?
It raises awareness about the food we eat. It persuades governments to take action and demonstrate commitment to fulfilling food health priorities. Experts use this opportunity to convince lawmakers to put further emphasis on the safety of the crops we consume and sell.
It boosts awareness about the importance of plant health to communities as well as to the ecosystem. Healthier ecosystems can improve the quality and health of our crops.
Why plant health is important?
Both our health and the health of our planet depend on plants. Plants are the source of the oxygen we breathe, the food we eat, the fibres that make our clothes and natural building materials. Trees reduce air pollution, and provide habitat for animals. Healthy plants support local populations of animals and sustain our planet's unique flora. Yet, up to 40 per cent of food crops are lost due to plant pests and diseases every year. This is affecting food security and agriculture, the main source of income for vulnerable rural communities.
Climate change and human activities are also affecting plant health, altering ecosystems and damaging biodiversity while creating new niches for pests to thrive.
International travel and trade, which has tripled in volume in the last decade, is making pests and diseases appear in places they were never seen before.
How can we contribute to it?
Keeping plants healthy is essential for life on earth and all of us have a role to play. You can support a food security charity that focuses on food security and sustenance farming by donating.
You can plant a tree in your yard or in a nearby park, and watch it grow over time.
You can start a vegetable garden to enjoy healthy, locally-grown produce while also taking steps to protect plant health. Choose vegetables that are native to your area, and start planting.
Organize or join a volunteer effort to help clean up local parks and green spaces on International Plant Health Day. This is a great way to help promote the health of plants in your community.
Take the time to learn about plant health issues and how you can help protect plants from disease and pests. Read articles and books, watch documentaries, or even take a course.
Share what you have learned with family and friends on social media #InternationalDayofPlantHealth or through word of mouth, and encourage them to take part in International Plant Health Day activities.
Facts about plant health:
Pests ravage crops annually: According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), up to 40% of food crops are lost to plant pests and diseases every year, causing damages of up to $220 billion each year.
We need a lot more food: The FAO notes that agricultural production must rise about 60% by 2050, to be able to feed the larger, generally richer population of the future.
The largest industry in the world: Up to 40% of the world’s population is employed in agriculture, making it the largest employing industry in the world.
Less cheap, better results: Organic farming tends to require 2.5x more effort than conventional farming but is able to yield 10x the profit.
Not all bugs are pests: Many insects are beneficial to crops for pollination, pest control, and soil health but their number has decreased by 80% in the past 25 to 30 years.
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