FAO Regional Office for Near East and North Africa

Riyadh marks the International Year of Plant Health with yearlong awareness campaign

The Saudi Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture and FAO launch the year under the theme "protecting plants, protecting life"

Riyadh, 3 January 2020 - The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture (MoEWA) launched a campaign to raise awareness of the importance of plant health for sustainable agriculture, food security, and the reduction of hunger and poverty. The campaign coincided with the launch by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations’ International Year of Plant Health (IYPH) for 2020 under the slogan "protecting plants, protecting life".

Eng. Ayman Al Ghamdi, Director-General of plant health and protection at the Ministry, said the campaign is designed to raise awareness among the public on how plant health can secure food, protect the environment, and advance economic development. The campaign also urges people to protect plants from destructive pests, encourages scientific innovation to address plant diseases, and supports best practices that reduce the prevalence of pests.

Al Ghamdi said the campaign targets the entire community - farmers, importers, exporters, consumers, researchers, and scientists, and includes local and regional activities. Three planned regional activities will cover topics on palm protection, greenhouse vegetables, and phytosanitary measures under the International Plant Protection Convention, while more than 100 local activities across the kingdom will include guidance convoys, field days, workshops, seminars, and training.

Al Ghamdi said the ministry established prizes for farmers who excel in the area of plant health and for plant health researchers in cooperation with universities and research centres in the kingdom, in addition to prizes for standouts in the area of plant health at the ministry.

MoEWA is currently working to build the technical and corporate capacities of plant health through an economic pest integrated management initiative aimed at protecting plant health from trans-boundary pests to achieve sustainable agriculture and food security.

The United Nations declared 2020 as the International Year of Plant Health, creating an opportunity to raise global awareness on how protecting plant health can help end hunger, reduce poverty, protect the environment, and boost economic development.

FAO has been cooperating closely with Saudi Arabia for more than 70 years, providing technical, advisory, strategic, and corporate support for the kingdom. In 2017-2018, FAO assisted in the implementation of MoEWA's strategic initiatives that were developed under the National Transformation Program 2020 and Saudi Vision 2030.

FAO and Saudi Arabia cooperate to promote sustainable food security and sustainable use of agricultural natural resources, improve the production of fisheries and aquaculture, protect animals and control animal diseases, enhance plant production, and strengthen ties between smallholders and agricultural producers.



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