Celebrate the International Year of Plant Health

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Territorians are being asked to keep an eye out for plant pests and diseases as part of the International Year of Plant Health.

Plant diseases cost the global economy around US $220 billion annually. Pests wipe out up to 40 per cent of global food crops each year.

Significant plant disease outbreaks in the Northern Territory in recent years have included banana freckle, citrus canker and cucumber green mottle mosaic virus. The total cost of the national banana freckle eradication was approximately $26 million, with proof of freedom declared in February 2019. The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that 40% of food crops are lost to plant pests and diseases annually.

Sarah Corcoran, Executive Director Biosecurity and Animal Welfare says every Territorian has a role to play in protecting plants from pests and diseases.

“Early detection is key to protecting our valuable horticultural industries. Trust your instincts, if it looks unusual, report it to the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881,” Dr Corcoran said.“If you’re travelling up or down the Stuart Highway, there are restrictions on what can be taken with you. The general rule of thumb is not to take any fresh fruit or vegetables interstate or into specified exclusion zones, such as the Ti Tree Fruit Fly Exclusion Zone. Quarantine bins are located near every border crossing and exclusion zone to help travellers do the right thing.”

FAO are calling on people from all over the world to submit photos that illustrate their idea of healthy or unhealthy plants and stand a chance to win a paid trip to the International Plant Health Conference in Helsinki. For more information on the online submission process visit the FAO website.

The International Year of Plant Health is being coordinated by the United Nations, and supported by Plant Health Australia and the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. Events and information sessions are being hosted throughout Australia to improve awareness about plant health. You can find out more by visiting the International Year of Plant Health 2020 website.

International Year of Plant Health 2020

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