Did you know that plant health has an impact on human health? The change in weather patterns as a result of climate change has increased the risk of plants pests and diseases spreading to forestry and agricultural ecosystems. 40% of food crops are lost to plant pests and diseases every year. Ensuring food safety and human health by preserving plant health requires a global pest outbreak and response system. The IPPC Secretariat has carefully crafted a system of such extent to protect plant health.
The International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) is the only global entity that can set standards for protecting plants and their products across borders. Those who rely on plant health for their livelihood are vulnerable to the risks of invasive pests which also increase biodiversity loss and pose a risk to human health.
Furthermore, plants used for food may serve as carriers for harmful microbial-based toxins and human pathogens. Plant health is at high risk with 51% of associated illness outbreaks being traced backed to plant foods over ten years, affecting 600 million people in a year. Plants, fruit, and vegetables that use irrigation systems, are susceptible to contaminated water or soil contaminated via water dispersal.
Due to climate change, the Caribbean is vulnerable to a rise of new plant diseases and pests. The promotion of plant health is critical to food production and food security. In response to this, the Caribbean Health Directors Forum was created and its goal over the last fifteen years was to establish a transparent exchange of sanitary information among Caribbean countries, to which it has been successful with its annual meetings and workshops.
Many Caribbean countries have also adopted the International Day of Plant Health (IDPH) which was recognized by the United Nations, to be observed and celebrated on May 12th, to raise awareness on the importance of plant health, how to protect it, addition to protecting biodiversity, the environment, ending hunger, reducing poverty, and boosting economic development.
FAO – Managing Pests and Preserving Plant Health is Key to Ensuring Food Security
FAO – International Day of Plant Health
United Nations – Plant health summit aims to boost food security, safeguard human health
Resiliencelinks – Plant Health and Its Effects on Food Safety and Security in a One Health Framework
CPHDForum – Objectives and Organization