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Crop epidemics - shifting from cure to prevention

The risk of crop pest epidemics has never been higher (© IITA)
The risk of crop pest epidemics has never been higher

Amidst a spate of crop pest epidemics threatening farming livelihoods and ecologies around the world, in May 2013, the Forum for Agricultural Risk Management in Development (FARMD) hosted a webinar to explore global solutions. Getting ahead of the crop pest epidemic curve, which featured presentations from experts in plant protection, highlighted the need for strengthened global capacity in risk analysis, prevention, surveillance and response to crop pest threats. Risks of epidemics have been heightened in recent years by expansion in global trade, altered weather patterns and new crop choices. In Africa, in particular, history suggests that such events will continue to happen, and with greater frequency, unless a step-change in prevention can be achieved.

The presenters stressed the need for a shift from addressing the symptoms of pest epidemics to tackling the causes. Presentations identified the need for government and private sector action in developing effective plant health systems. Investment in crop epidemic mitigation, as a global collective responsibility, was presented as a vital precursor to achieving resilient crop production. The webinar presentations are available - including Pre-emptive, not curative disease control, The roles of the International Plant Protection Convention in plant health, and experiences of CABI's Plantwise initiative that supports 'plant doctors' in rural communities. An audio recording of the webinar is also available online.

Date published: June 2013


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