The aim of the webinar was to propose a collective responsibility to deliver a step-change in our capacity to recognize and respond to emerging crop pest threats, so as to mitigate current and future epidemics, notably of the developing world and particularly in Africa.
For resilient cropping and food systems to be achieved in developing countries a step-change is needed to address the causes of crop pest epidemics; rather than the current approaches that focus on the symptoms in looking to provide cures. Until such change, underlying risks of food insecurity of developing countries at household, national, and regional levels will continue to erode the willingness of farmers, and others in the food chain, to invest in more profitable crops and products and a ‘pathway out of poverty’.
The risk of crop pest epidemics has never been higher. Major drivers are with more expansive global trade and human movement that increase the number of pest entry events into a country or region; whilst climate change is altering weather patterns and the farmers’ choice of crop, and providing ‘new’ landscapes for pest establishment and spread. Exotic pests, newly evolved pest virulences, and endemic pests will all be influenced by these main factors, presenting the previously unrealized risk of epidemics. Africa’s history of pest epidemics demonstrates, with a high degree of certainty, that such events will continue to happen and with greater frequency in the future.
As we consider these words, Maize Lethal Necrotic Disease, a new disease to Kenya in 2011, is spreading across East Africa with potentially devastating consequences. It is incumbent on us to think differently and act differently.
This webinar, through its partners Fera, CABI, IITA and the current chair of the CPM to the IPPC, gives a voice to the need for investment in crop pest epidemic mitigation as an essential precursor to resilient cropping and food systems. Whilst focused on developing countries, the overriding message is about strengthening the global capacity in risk analysis, prevention, surveillance, and response to crop pest threats in providing for global food security as a one-world challenge.
The presentations will identify roles of government and supra-governmental bodies, as well as the private and public sectors in developing effective plant health systems and, will disseminate appropriately-tailored insight and advice to all stakeholders that ultimately benefit smallholder farmers.
Julian Smith, Food and Environment Research Agency, United Kingdom. Julian Smith has 20 years of experience in agriculture, both the UK and developing countries, and in forging partnerships in crop health between north and south institutions…Learn more
Philip Abrahams, Strategic Business Development Manager, CAB International (CABI). Phil Abrahams has over 30 years’ experience working in business development, primarily in science publishing… Learn more
Fen Beed, Plant Pathologist for East and Central Africa, International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (Tanzania). Dr. Fen Beed is an experienced plant pathologist based at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Dar es Salaam, Tanzania…Learn more
Steve Ashby, Chair, Commission on Phytosanitary Measures, International Plant Protection Convention, Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) Steve Ashby has worked for the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (or its predecessor) since 1980…Learn more