STORY: FAO: Plant Pests and Impacts on Food Security
TRT: 2 min 23s
SOURCE: UNTV CH
ASPECT RATIO: 16:9
DATELINE: 24 March 2023 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
Plant pests destroy up to 40% of agriculture and crops, adding to an increasingly hungry world - FAO
Even though plants provide 98% or more of the oxygen people breathe, and nearly 80% of our daily calorie intake, they are under siege.
“Pests currently destroy up to 40% of agriculture and crops, including food crops- 40% each year. This costs the world about $220 billion- that would be $220 billion annually in global trade losses,” said Dr. Osama El-Lissy, Secretary- General of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) today to the media at the United Nations in Geneva ahead of its annual meeting.
The IPPC, an intergovernmental treaty involving 184 countries, is overseen by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to safeguard agriculture and natural resources against plan pest and to facilitate safe trade.
In an increasingly hungry world, with 828 million people experiencing hunger in 2021 based on the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates, this is alarming and set back global efforts towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 2, Zero Hunger, by 2030.
For example, the most widely traded fruit in the world, worth USD 7.5 billion, is under attack from the devastating banana fusarium (TR4), a fungus that attacks the roots causing bananas to wilt.
“80% of the global banana production is currently under attack from a disease called banana fusarium,” Mr. El-Lissy said. “That is basically a fungus that attacks and kills bananas. And more recently, just two weeks ago, Venezuela actually reached out to us to report the detection of this particular banana fusarium in banana production and declared an emergency”.
Next week, the IPPC’s governing body, the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures, will convene in Rome for its 17th annual session to adopt standard and to take stock of the progress in the global protection of plants.
“We are concerned about insecticide resistance and that's why we promote environmentally friendly tools that could be just as effective in controlling some of these pests, including biological control in sterile insect technology and other practices that can really minimize the use of insecticides while at the same time providing the necessary safeguarding against some of these invasive pests,” said Dr. Osama El-Lissy.
He also emphasized that “based on scientific review that the IPPC conducted last year, climate change is increasing the risk of pests spreading in agriculture and forestry areas. And we see this in the distribution of desert locusts, the world's most destructive migratory pests”.