Second workshop session held on Fusarium TR4 surveillance and remote sensing

Posted on Thu, 28 Apr 2022, 08:32

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© FAO/Fredrik Lerneryd

Rome, 19 April 2022. The International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) held the second workshop series session on Fusarium TR4 diagnostic, surveillance, inspection and simulation exercises on 19 April 2022 and covered Fusarium TR4 surveillance. Over 130 participants from around 100 countries in Africa, Asia, the Pacific, Latin America and the Near East and North Africa, attended the virtual workshop. Topics discussed included the importance of detection and delimitation surveys for surveillance, the Mozambican NPPO’s experience with addressing Fusarium TR4 and the application of remote sensing technologies in agriculture for safer and more efficient surveillance.

"Surveillance is critical to contributing to the IPPC's mission to prevent the spread of regulated pests and the safe international trade of plants, plants products and regulated articles. This process is vital in demonstrating the pest status in exporting and importing countries, providing them with a technical basis to require phytosanitary measures as appropriate," stated Osama El-Lissy, IPPC Secretary.

TR4 surveillance

The IPPC provides harmonized guidance on the surveillance process through the ISPM 6 and the Surveillance Guide to promote the safe movement of plants, plants products and regulated articles, avoiding the spread of quarantine pests. "The IPPC resources and materials are valuable to establish the fundamental components of national surveillance system that is an integral part of a country's plant health strategy and should contribute to trade facilitation," said Chris Dale, International Biosecurity Specialist from the Australian Department of Agriculture, Water, and the Environment (DAWE).

In his presentation, Mr Dale explained the Australian approach to surveillance which consists of three stages: pre-border, border, and post-border activities, to assist in the early detection, preparedness, and management of pests. He illustrated the early warning and detection actions and responses that should be considered for Fusarium TR4 as per the national surveillance system programs.

Case study from Mozambique implementing surveillance for Fusarium TR4

Mozambique was the first country to report Fusarium TR4 in the African continent. Antónia Augusto S. Vaz, Head of Plant Health Department at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Mozambique, highlighted the importance of "enabling favorable policy environment and ensuring effective on-farm measures". This is vital for effectively implementing a targeted strategy to manage and contain Fusarium TR4.

Once Fusarium TR4 was confirmed in Mozambique, the NPPO complied with the National Reporting Obligations, and reported the detection to the IPPC Secretariat. Further, containment measures were implemented, and a task force was created to monitor the implementation of measures taken. Delimitation surveys were conducted and infested areas were quarantined. So far, the official surveillance reports state that Fusarium TR4 is confined to the provinces of Nampula and Cabo-Delgado in the northern part of the country.

Remote sensing tools

Remote sensing technologies enable information to be acquired from plants and fields using a sensor without contact and have a wide range of uses for agricultural and plant health purposes. Lizbeth Parra Garzon, Researcher at Geomatic Green, presented an overview of the remote sensing tools to identify plant changes and their uses for plant health. Ms Parra highlighted that the information from remotely sensed images allows farmers to identify affected areas of a field before being visually identified, obtaining results in real-time in any phenological state of plants. Therefore, these technologies have the potential to guide on- ground surveillance and early detection activities and other phytosanitary activities undertaken by NPPOs.

Lizbeth Parra also explained that remote sensing works with vegetation indices for data analysis and interpretation and stated that "sensors perceive the variations in the spectrum, and this gives a scale of values that can be analyzed through vegetation indices. These indices are calculated using formulas that consider two or more spectral bands added, divided, or multiplied as required. The calculation of vegetation indices allows to evaluate and estimate the state of the vegetation, based on changes in its reflectance."

Next workshop session

The third session of the workshop on Fusarium TR4 inspection and simulation exercises will take place on 10 May 2022. Please visit the workshop series website here to register, and access the recordings of initial two workshop sessions, presentations, Q&A documents, and the bios of the panelists.

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