Global Agriculture

Australia: Better be-leaf it: celebrating International Day of Plant Health

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13 May 2024, AU: To honour the International Day of Plant Health on 12 May 2024, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry is celebrating regional collaboration on plant health. 

Regional engagement outcomes will be acknowledged at the two-day Plant Biosecurity Research Initiative (PBRI) Symposium at the Cairns Convention Centre on May 8 and 9. The event brings together industry players, researchers and governments with the aim of better coordinating efforts to safeguard plant health.  

“Plants are vital to our region,” said Australia’s Chief Plant Protection Officer, Gabrielle Vivian-Smith, who will chair the symposium’s keynote speech program. 

“Plants are the clothes on our back, the food in our stomachs, and the roofs over our heads.

“Yet around the world, 40% of food crops are lost to plant pests and diseases each year. Rural communities are especially vulnerable. Climate change not only threatens crop yields and nutrition levels, but is also accelerating the spread of plant pests and diseases.

“The department is investing in research and innovation to protect plants and supporting farmers’ livelihoods by helping them better manage plant health. 

“For instance, we are researching the efficacy of ethyl formate to control and eradicate the khapra beetle at the Australian border while also partnering with the Queensland government to curtail seasonal incursions of exotic fruit fly on our northern frontier. 

“We are also strengthening biosecurity measures to better protect plants at home, while also collaborating with near neighbours to ensure regional plant health.”

Departmental staff recently visited ‘high-biosecurity-risk’ sites around Honiara, working with their Solomon Islands’ counterparts to detect exotic plant pest threats after last year’s Pacific Games. In June, Papua New Guinea’s National Agriculture and Quarantine Inspection Authority, will host Solomon Islands’ biosecurity officers to examine target pests and surveillance techniques. This is a direct outcome of the department’s Pacific Biosecurity Strategy which prioritises ‘Stronger Partnerships’ between all Pacific nations. 

The PRBI biannual symposium, will cover a variety of topics, including varroa mites in honeybees, the Indigenous Ranger Biosecurity Program, and wine industry biosecurity risks. 

Also Read: Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Introduces Amendments to Fertilizer Control Order Specific to Biostimulants

(For Latest Agriculture News & Updates, follow Krishak Jagat on Google News)

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