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Plant Production and Protection Division

2000-2001 Programme Entities

212A1 - Development of Improved Crops and Cropping Systems

Rationale and Objective

Present crop production levels are insufficient in many regions and there is often a wide gap in yields between farmers' fields and research stations. The decline in productivity occurring in some regions of the world is also of major concern. Current cropping systems are still suboptimal and may have a detrimental impact on the environment, especially under shifting cultivation. This technical project (TP) will, therefore, contribute to the goals of Members to improve income opportunities and food security through intensification and diversification under sound environmental conditions. Its objective is to enhance livelihoods and incomes of farm families through intensified crop production and improved cropping systems

Approach and Links

This TP addresses a broad variety of crops and problems related to the management of cropping system. Inter-country cooperation and information exchange will be facilitated by convening meetings and expert consultations. Besides the International Rice Commission (IRC) and its attendant steering committee and working groups, a global expert consultation will be convened on the yield gap and productivity decline in intensive rice production. Other meetings will be held on: maize; under-utilised Andean crops; participatory breeding; international cooperative research for root crops breeding and agronomy; home-garden strategy development; mushroom production and under-utilised fruit crops. The TP will support several networks dealing inter alia with industrial and field crops, various species of fruit crops; biotechnology and broadening of the genetic base, in cooperation with the Regional Offices. Under these networks a number of workshops and symposia will be convened and technical newsletters issued.

The TP will support pilot tests and demonstrations of new plant types and improved technologies and assist in the wide dissemination of trial results. It will also assist with specific crop strategy or programme development on potato production in tropical Africa, small-scale mushroom growing, cassava, cashew-nut and subsistence horticulture. Support to training will involve the preparation of manuals and guidelines on: sustainable cropping systems for the African Savannah; promising rice varieties for different ecologies in West Africa; irrigated rice production for extension workers; breeding for marginal lands; identifying production problems in irrigated wheat; field constraints to rice production and speciality rice; the application of biotechnologies; and exchange of vegetative material. A number of training courses will also be organised. The TP will maintain databases on key crops and cropping systems including maize, wheat, sorghum, horticultural crops, grain legumes and rice under various agro-ecological conditions. Electronic means of dissemination will be enhanced. Close cooperation will be maintained with CGIAR centres actively involved with the above crops or cropping systems.

212A2 - Urban and Peri-urban Agriculture

Rationale and Objective

The rapid urbanisation in all regions has resulted in an increased demand particularly for fresh fruit and vegetables, while uncontrolled growth of the cities is leading to poverty and malnutrition problems. Horticulture, within and around the cities, has been an expanding activity for many of the unskilled migrants, women and youth. Home-gardening on small plots, road sides, terraces and patios has been undertaken both to feed the family and also to sell through street vendors. Small and medium-size market gardens have specialised in commercial production of vegetables, fruits and root crops for sale in cities. However, in most cases, city farming initiatives lack supervision and guidance and are expanding in a haphazard fashion, with farmers squatting on any available piece of land. Moreover, the uncontrolled use of agro-chemicals and doubtful irrigation water has on many occasions led to public health problems. COAG recognised the important contribution of urban and peri-urban agriculture to improved food security, nutrition and livelihoods. This technical project will assist countries in expanding and diversifying urban and peri-urban production systems, while ensuring sustainable use of natural resources and adequate decision support mechanisms. The objective is to support the intensification and diversification of urban and peri-urban agriculture as a contribution to improved food security and livelihood for the urban poor.

Approach and Links

The TP will seek to establish a comprehensive knowledge base on horticultural crops, production technologies and cultivar performances in urban and peri-urban environments. It will also develop sample project prototypes to foster small-scale investment initiatives for urban and peri-urban horticulture and organise symposia on specialised technologies for efficient and safe intensified horticultural crop production technologies in open field and under greenhouse cultivation. This effort will be accompanied by regional project formulation workshops (e.g. greenhouse crop technologies in the Balkan countries and high quality vegetable production in small island states). Crop protocols and guidelines will be issued aiming at the production of high quality and safe horticultural produce, including organic systems, as well as training of certification procedures for labelling according to international standards. Training activities will include regional workshops to build planning capacity for integrated development of urban and peri-urban agriculture and the development of training modules for the production of "safe" vegetables, small-scale floriculture, protected cultivation in the humid tropics and simple soil-less culture techniques. Meetings of regional cooperative networks will be supported, e.g. in Latin America (Aguila) and in Africa (Coraf), in cooperation with decentralised offices. External partners will include a number of research institutions and NGOs active in promoting this type of production.

212A3 - Grassland-based Production Systems

Rationale and Objective

Many of the grasslands of the world occur in marginal areas and, through inappropriate use, have become degraded, with subsequent loss of biodiversity and productivity. In higher potential areas, there is a need to produce growing quantities of fodder either for winter/summer feed or to support the animal component of integrated crop-livestock systems. Many countries require assistance in addressing the needs of herders, nomads and small farmers, particularly in marginal areas. The objective of this TP is to enhance the uptake of technologies for sustainable grassland utilisation in and fragile ecosystems, and integrate fodder production into agricultural systems in high potential areas.

Approach and Links

The TP will support various networks, particularly in terms of working group studies and information exchange for specific ecologies. Range rehabilitation demonstration pilot areas will be established through projects in the Near East, and pasture-crop rotation demonstrations organised in selected countries. Guidelines will be issued on key topics including grassland resource assessment, production from low-input grasslands, hay production, winter forage production in selected Asian countries, silage production for the tropics, and forage and fodder trees for peri-urban smallholder dairy farmers. Reports and publications will be prepared on fodder tree utilisation, specific pasture-crop rotations, major grasslands, forage seed production in East Africa, cactus as forage and cold resistant alfalfa with the cooperation of the concerned Regional Offices. Training courses on forage seed production and on pasture evaluation will be organised for extension workers. A grass/legume and fodder tree database and country forage profiles will be placed on the FAO Website to facilitate dissemination of information to member countries. External partners will include several CGIAR centres (ICARDA, ICRAF, ILRI) as well as IFAD, UNEP and UNESCO.

212A4 - EMPRES - Plant Pests Component

Rationale and Objective

This TP will continue the valuable work of the plant pest component of EMPRES, especially for the control of locusts. It will seek to meet countries' requirements for early warning on possible invasions and introductions of transboundary plant pests as well as assistance where capacities for early reaction are inadequate. It will also coordinate the responses of affected countries and promote cooperation. The objective is to minimise the risk of transboundary plant pest emergencies through the development and strengthening of early warning systems, early reaction and research.

Approach and Links

The TP will assist in upgrading communication systems in locust-affected countries and improving reporting procedures on the introduction of non-migratory pests. In-depth reviews of the desert locust control capacity of selected countries will be pursued, with a view to enhancing contingency planning processes. Improved methodologies on selected aspects of desert locust surveys will be introduced and the capacity for pesticide residue analysis in the Red Sea region will be assessed.

Research support activities will include field trials using biocontrol agents against desert locust populations in the Red Sea area, and field trials with barrier treatments. The correlation between actual composition of desert locust habitats and total spectral reflectance will be analysed and improved methods of quantitative assessment of locust populations developed. Plant protection officials will be further trained on surveillance and reporting systems. Information dissemination will be pursued through the monthly publication of bulletins on non-migratory pests and the development of a desert locust database, with prototypes to be made available to interested countries. Besides direct contact with affected countries through the commissions, committees and other inter-country cooperation mechanisms under the auspices of FAO, this TP will enlist the cooperation of academic institutions and bilateral assistance agencies interested in locust control. Extra budgetary resources are provided by a variety of donors.

212A5 - Mainstreaming IPM to Attain Food Security by Enhancing Essential Ecological Processes

Rationale and Objective

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) makes food production intensification more sustainable and is the most widely practised means of establishing farmers field schools to implement other components of food security. National IPM programmes involve policy reforms that make the agricultural sector more competitive by encouraging abolition of unproductive subsidies and promoting human resources development. In addition to optimising progress towards plant protection goals, IPM is a leading example of knowledge and science-based agricultural practices. This TP's objective is, therefore, to support the identification, analysis and enhancement of critical agro-ecological processes including predation, competition, pollination co-evolution, mutualism and herbivory, particularly in relation to plant protection based on local decision-making, and to facilitate related policy and institutional changes.

Approach and Links

This TP is closely linked to and mutually supportive of the Global IPM Facility, which is cosponsored by WB, UNDP and UNEP and hosted at FAO Headquarters. The facility involves extra-budgetary core funds of approximately the same magnitude as the resources allocated to the TP. Other FAO-supported or executed IPM field projects provide technical inputs and opportunities in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

This TP will undertake case studies and develop new participatory methods for the analysis of essential agro-ecological services used by farmers in IPM decision-making and by national IPM programmes as part of their core strategies related to predation, pollination, etc. It will issue guidelines for national plant protection personnel involved in food security interventions and longer-term plant protection strategy design, implementation and evaluation. The TP will have a strong training orientation, including formulation of training curricula for national plant protection and food security personnel on applying IPM-situated pest population dynamics and pathosystem epidemiological methods, and training of plant protection and regulatory personnel on herbicide resistant crops and pilot IPM programmes for major weeds. Additional activities include: the application of practical weed population ecology by farmers field schools in a range of representative agro-ecosystems; improved biological control in practical IPM systems; development and application of a Code of Conduct for exotic biocontrol for the provision of guidance to conventions and protocols through participatory IPM; and a number of studies of specific components of IPM.

212A6 - Conservation, Management and Sustainable Utilisation of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (PGRFA)

Rationale and Objective

This TP will strengthen FAO global system on Plant Genetic Resources (PGR) which includes the development of the World Information and Early Warning System (WIEWS); the Global Plan of Action (GPA) on Plant Genetic Resources; the report on the State of the World's PGRFA; the international network of ex-situ collections under the auspices of FAO; and the global and regional crop-related networks. This TP will concentrate on facilitating the implementation of priority activities of the rolling GPA in the areas of conservation, use and capacity building, including the updating of the report on the State of the World's PGRFA which will also provide the basis to further develop the WIEWS. Assistance will also be provided to countries in developing regional and national programmes, networks and projects in order to upgrade their capacity to preserve and utilise PGRFA in a sustainable manner, in collaboration with other agencies and in line with the Twenty-ninth FAO Conference decisions. Progress and achievements will be reported to the regular sessions of PGRFA.

Approach and Links

The TP will work on all components of the global system. Information dissemination and exchange will be enhanced through the availability of WIEWS and Seed Information System (SIS) on the World Agricultural Information Centre (WAICENT) and regular issues of technical publications including the FAO/IPGRI Newsletter. The second (updated) report on the State of the World's PGRFA will be issued. The TP will pursue strengthening of the global, regional and crop-related networks as well as the international network of ex-situ collections. Support will also be given for developing methods for dynamic in-situ management of PGRFA populations through such activities as case studies of on-farm management of genetic resources and guidelines for the management of PGRFA in protected areas. Training will also be supported. Collaboration will be ensured with IPGRI, other concerned CGIAR centres and NGOs.

212A7 - Sustainable Seed Production and Seed Security

Rationale and Objective

The supply of quality seeds and planting materials, including the distribution of improved varieties, is a key factor for increasing agricultural productivity and food security and is one of the priority activities of the Global Plan of Action for the Conservation and Sustainable Utilisation of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. Countries need to put in place effective seed policies and programmes and ensure complementarity between governmental, parastatal, commercial and small-scale enterprises in plant breeding, improved seed production and distribution. This TP's objective is to support the formulation of global seed policy and programmes by member countries required for well-functioning national seed production and supply sectors.

Approach and Links

Technical and policy advice to countries will be facilitated by the holding of consultations and by support to inter-country cooperative networks in Africa, Near East and North Africa, and Asia and the Pacific. Manuals on modern seed technology for sexually reproduced crop species, guidelines for improved on-farm seed production and training manuals on laboratory seed testing will be published. FAO's Quality Declared Seed Scheme will be updated. Regarding seed security, it is intended to establish a Seed Security Consultative Group and make operational a Southern African Development Community (SADC) Seed Security Network. Several FAO field projects are aimed at assisting countries to enhance their seed sectors and will be closely linked with the activities of this TP. Seed security is a major component of all field projects dealing with seed and planting materials improvement and production. External partners include NARS, at country level, and the crop-related centres of the CGIAR, at the international level.

212A8 - Information for Plant Production and Protection Decision Making

Rationale and Objective

This project is designed to develop an innovative, Internet-focused decision support and information management system on crop production and protection. Participants will be able to influence information delivery and access, as the project is to be implemented with shared responsibility for collection, validation and access. The objective is to make information on crop production and protection and related decision-making tools accessible to Members.

Approach and Links

A network of plant production and protection specialists will be set up as the backbone for providing inputs into the system. The resulting databases will serve a broad range of users involved in both operational and normative work. Guidelines will be updated and training for editors and users organised on a regional basis. Links will be maintained with other databases of the Plant Production and Protection Division (AGP).

212P1 - Secretariat of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC)

Rationale and Objective

This continuing programme activity supports the implementation of the International Plant Protection Convention and will facilitate the international movement, including trade, of plant material and agricultural products, while assisting the membership in maintaining adequate protection of national plant resources and biodiversity from the introduction and spread of harmful pests. The objective is to secure common and effective action to prevent the spread and introduction of pests affecting plant products and to promote measures for their control.

Approach and Links

This TP will involve a series of important meetings, including two meetings each of the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures and the Committee of Experts on Phytosanitary Measures; six expert working groups; and two technical consultations among regional plant protection organisations. It will continue to support FAO regional plant protection commissions in Asia and the Pacific and in the Caribbean and on-going publication of international standards for phytosanitary measures, pest status and outbreak reporting, and other IPPC mandated information sharing. The latter will be facilitated by a dedicated section of FAO's Internet Website, the issuance of the IPPC Newsletter and the maintenance of a directory of contact points in national and regional plant protection organisations. In addition to a network of contacts with the concerned national institutions, close liaison will be ensured with WTO and other interested international organisations. Internally, coordination will take place with Codex in international standard setting and harmonisation of sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures.

212P2 - Pesticide Management

Rationale and Objective

This TP will service the International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides. Support for the Interim Secretariat of the Rotterdam Convention jointly executed by FAO and UNEP for the application of Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade (Article 9 of the Code) is part of this TP. Progress in the implementation of the Code so far can be appreciated through the following indicators: 1) provision of guidelines on pesticide management and their subsequent adoption by national authorities (linked to the 2. questionnaire on the Code, 1996); 2) the description of high quality standards for pesticides (more than 360 "old" standards and 5 "new" standards in 1999); 3) the estimation of pesticide residue levels (more than 2,400 maximum residue limits (MRLs) adopted by the Codex in 1998); 4) the identification of hazardous pesticides to qualify for the PIC Procedure (22 pesticides listed in 1998); and 5) relieving the hazard of obsolete pesticides (1,200 tonnes disposed of in Africa up to 1998). The objective of the TP is to reduce risks associated with the use of pesticides and thus assist in protecting human health and the environment.

Approach and Links

The TP will support government consultations on the revision of the Code of Conduct, disseminate a draft revised version of the Code and publish it in final form. It will also disseminate the recommendations from regional awareness workshops on the Rotterdam Convention, organised in cooperation with the Regional Offices. The operational procedure for a specific pesticide to become a PIC chemical will be kept under review and guidelines on pesticide management will be published. Other methodological activities will include: the definition of standards for pesticide product quality; the evaluation, description and publication of pesticide specifications; the publication of reports on pesticide degradation behaviour in agricultural produce and the environment; and dissemination of recommendations of the panel of experts on pesticides registration requirements. The estimation of international MRLs will remain an ongoing responsibility, in line with the recommendations of the joint meetings on pesticide residues. The development of an information system on pesticides under the PIC Procedure, including government decisions and the decision guidance documents, will assist with the above range of activities. As regards obsolete pesticides, the TP will work on procedures for assessing the build-up of obsolete pesticides in developing countries in cooperation with the Regional Offices in the Near East, Africa and Latin America, and disseminate information and methodologies to governments on disposal. External partners will include UNEP, ILO, UNIDO, WHO and OECD.

212P3 - Migratory Pest Management

Rationale and Objective

This TP complements the above TP (212A4) by covering the "permanent" responsibilities entrusted to FAO for supporting information exchange and collaboration among the affected countries on migratory pests, coupled with sensitisation of the international donor community.
The objective is to facilitate regional and inter-regional cooperation and coordination on the management of migratory pests and to reduce crop losses caused by such pests, in particular by locusts.

Approach and Links

Together with TP 212A4, this TP will sustain a flow of current information to all interested parties through monthly bulletins on the desert locust situation including forecasts, the issuance of special alerts on critical desert locust situations and of summaries of situations concerning other locust outbreaks. Guidelines and methodologies will be refined for use in management of desert locust and other migratory pests. Desert locust population fluctuations will be analysed and supportive databases maintained. The TP will promote cooperation in desert locust management through policy decisions agreed by consensus and in servicing of established consultative mechanisms. This will also include efforts to reach consensus on desert locust research priorities and collaborative research projects to be implemented. Training on desert locust management will target inter alia national survey and forecasting officers. Technical advice will be provided to development projects on migratory pest management (e.g. USAID and LOCUSTOX projects). External partners will include bilateral assistance agencies.

212P4 - Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (PGRFA) Policy Support

Rationale and Objective

The TP comprises two components. The first component, implemented by the Secretariat for the Commission on Genetic Resources, is to support intergovernmental discussion and negotiation of policy instruments, agreements and regulatory frameworks for genetic resources for food and agriculture and related technologies, including on access and benefit-sharing; to assist with specific action programmes; and to keep under continuous review all matters relating to FAO's policies, programmes and activities in this field. The Commission has established two subsidiary sectoral Intergovernmental Technical Working Groups (ITWGs) on Farm Animal Genetic Resources and on Plant Genetic Resources. Entity 213A5 supports the ITWG on animal genetic resources.

The second component, which deals specifically with plant genetic resources, is under the responsibility of the relevant technical unit, AGPS. It supports the ITWG on PGRFA. It complements TP 212A6, which focuses on operational activities. Its objective is to support countries in the coordination and development of regional and national policies for the conservation and sustainable utilisation of PGRFA, including to address genetic erosion, within the framework of the International Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources. This component covers follow-up and implementation of CGRFA decisions and recommendations.
Approach and Links

The first component will support negotiations for the development and monitoring of relevant international agreements, such as the International Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources (being revised in harmony with the CBD, and for the realisation of Farmers' Rights) and the sectoral frameworks, which include reports of the State of the World's Animal and Plant Genetic Resources, the rolling Global Plan of Action on PGRFA and the Global Strategy for the Sustainable Management and Conservation of Animal Genetic Resources. The Commission also develops codes of conduct, including on Genetic Resources Collecting and Transfer, and Biotechnology. The CGRFA Secretariat is also to support FAO's bioethics activities. It will maintain close liaison with national and regional institutions and civil society organisations concerned with genetic resources policy, with IPGRI and relevant international organisations, including CBD, WTO and UPOV.

The second component will assist all stakeholders in promoting and facilitating the implementation of the GPA and provide assistance to countries in developing projects in cooperation with other agencies. One meeting of stakeholders and donors will be supported. Under this component, guidelines and briefing documents for countries will be prepared on policy for access to, and the use of, PGRFA and on other matters arising from the revised International Undertaking. It will pursue work on criteria and indicators for monitoring implementation of the GPA; methodologies for the incorporation of GPA objectives into the programmes of international organisations; and compilation of best practice, based on the results of case studies. Support will also be provided to the joint work programme on agro-biodiversity with the CBD National plant genetic resources services. The CBD, the CGIAR (IPGRI), NGOs and funding organisations will be the main external partners. The ITWG on PGRFA will be serviced in close collaboration with the CGRFA Secretariat.

212S1 - Technical Services to Members on Crop Production

This technical services agreement covers the provision of direct advice on plant production issues and backstopping of FAO field programme, including SPFS and emergencies, both aiming at strengthened national and international programmes.