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FAO, CABI, IPPC and partners meet on solutions for crop pest problems in agriculture

For a wise plant protection management

Accra, 5 August 2014 -- A broad coalition of agriculture experts in West and southern Africa met in Accra, Ghana to build linkages that will enhance safe and sustainable food security at a national, regional and global level.

The workshop, convened by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC www.ippc.int) Secretariat, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO www.fao.org) and the CABI-led Plantwise programme was one in a series of recent efforts to better integrate plant health activities and resources in the region.

The Deputy Regional Representative of FAO Regional Office for Africa, Dr Lamourdia Thiombiano urged Crop protection officials to share the status of pests present in their countries. “It’s unfortunate to report that most countries - including developed countries - don’t fulfil all their reporting obligations. This doesn’t reflect well on the countries concerned, but it also means that we are less able to achieve the goals of the convention – preventing the introduction and spread of pests’’, he said, adding that he would urge the countries present to take their membership of the IPPC and indeed other international conventions seriously, and show that in Africa we can be fully responsible members of the international community”.

On his part, Dave Nowell, Information Exchange Officer of the IPPC Secretariat in FAO remarked: “Addressing national plant health issues and meeting national reporting obligations is not only about IPPC contracting parties working together or FAO members working together, but everybody has a role to play. It’s a whole new way of working for many but it’s necessary for the future sustainability of the system now that there are less resources to work with.”

By sharing information through IPPC national reporting frameworks, countries can build transparency on national regulations, facilitate trade with regional and global partners and respond early to potential pest threats.

Participants presented case studies from their countries on their everyday experiences utilizing decision-making tools from Plantwise, as well as the IPPC International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPMs) and the FAO’s International Code of Conduct on Pesticide Management.

They also outlined next steps for overcoming key challenges such as the lack of resources for emergency pest response, which would only be tackled through better collaboration, resource sharing, and effective advocacy for farmers’ needs.

“The plant clinic system is more efficient and can save money; it provides targeted services to farmers which is very economic. If we are able to share plant clinic information with other countries like through these forums, we will be able to know which sort of pests and diseases are occurring,” said Mr David Kamangira, Senior Deputy Director of Agriculture Research Services, Malawi.

The CABI-led Plantwise (www.plantwise.org), is a programme which fosters diverse partnerships across the plant health system to remove constraints to agricultural productivity. Working with partners in over 30 countries worldwide, including 12 African countries, the programme enables actors at all levels to better respond to pest threats.

Plant clinics also serve as the channel for communication and good relations with farmers. Through Integrated Pest Management programs, national experts use plant clinics to support pesticide registration and management systems, increasing awareness, training and advisory skills on safe pesticide use and promoting other non-chemical solutions.

The workshop series will support to find an integrated path to plant health for farmers in Africa and around the world. The first workshop in February 2014 was held by IPPC and Plantwise in Nairobi, Kenya bringing together officials from Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. Following its success, the Accra workshop targeted countries in Western and Southern Africa, namely Ghana, Malawi, Sierra Leone and Ghana.

Link:  http://www.fao.org/news/audio-video/detail-audio/en/?uid=10658

In collaboration: CABI, IPPC, FAO