Posted on Thu, 28 Feb 2013, 14:08
The future of the food security is threatened: according to FAO estimates, global output needs to expand by about 70% in order to meet the food needs of the population expected in 2050. A big part of this threat is that new pests are constantly being identified and known pests are becoming more widespread and causing increasing damage. The world is changing continuously and significantly in four specific areas: the global economic and trade situation; the environment and natural resources (including climate change); demographic trends; and in regard to food security. Global Framework The new global situation provides a means for increasing the threat posed by plant pests to plant resources posing major problems to agriculturalists, foresters and environmentalists. * Global Economic and Trade situation: In the future it is expected that many governments will continue looking to foreign markets to promote international trade, as a part of their broader economic growth strategy. Developing economies are already having an increasing influence on global economic policies. Many of these countries are lacking the infrastructure to adequately protect themselves and their trading partners from harmful plant pests * Environment and Natural Resources: The distribution of pests around the world is changing, not only because of the movement of goods and people, but also because of climate change. Pests are being found where they hadn''t been able to survive in the past. That is why governments should make policies which take climate change into consideration: environmentally friendly, while at the same time reducing the effects of plant pests on food production and the environment which would then allow the safe movement of commodities in trade. * Demographic Trends: New patterns of food consumption and demand are being established because of the new global demography. While the growth of the global population is increasing food demand, there is a significant migratory trend in the population from rural to urban areas. Consequently, food security concerns are beginning to present massive problems to many countries. In this framework, protection from harmful plant pests is an increasingly influential factor in trade and plant production policy. As broader agro-ecosystem concerns gain attention on the national and international level, policy shifts should be expected as governments become increasingly interested in protecting domestic natural plant resources. The IPPC''s role is to ensure that these policy shifts don''t get out of hand by restricting trade, despite increasing public concern about the effects of some pest mitigations on human health and on the environmental grounds with regard to traditional pesticide-based approaches for dealing with pest outbreaks. Alternative pest management measures and systems approaches are one area in which some National Plant Protection Organizations (NPPOs) have been able to focus which inturn provide improved efficiencies in providing protection for the environment and while reducing or eliminating pest threats. Nevertheless, it is important that there is increased awareness of these alternative approaches among national governments and private stakeholders as these new approaches are still relatively underutilized. But, why pests do matter in all this? Plant pests can have a huge and negative impact on plant resources. A serious pest outbreak can have a significant impact on food production and security, the economy in general and, beyond that to wild flora of the natural environment, and this risk is ever increasing as noted above. When linking pest prevention with plant resources, there are two important goals. One is to protect sustainable agriculture and enhance global food security. The other one is to protect the environment, forest and biodiversity. The first goal is of significant importance because, as FAO estimates, the global population will keep increasing and by 2050 global agricultural needs will have expanded by about 70 percent. At the same time, crop production is expected to continue to account for 80 percent of the world s food. As a result, crop production systems must be more sustainable than ever before. These systems should take in consideration integrated pest management, conservation agriculture, plant genetic resources and the reduction of the pollution. The IPPC deals specifically with those invasive alien species that are pests of plants and provides guidance for protection against them. However, the impact of pests is difficult to calculate because it can vary from insignificant to extremely high. In some instances, the resources used for preventing the introduction of one pest can be higher than those needed for long term control, containment, and eradication (if possible) after the introduction of the pest; in some cases even higher than the consequences of doing nothing. IPPC s role As noted above, the functional context of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) is changing continuously since it first came into force in 1952. That is why the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures (CPM) has been developing regulatory phytosanitary policies in order to reduce to the minimum the impact of plant pests through the development of International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPMs). The IPPC plays a critical role in developing the capacity of countries to monitor and respond to plant pest risks and safeguard their food supply. Even more concrete, IPPC s aim is to _secure cooperation among nations in protecting global plant resources from the spread and introduction of pests of plants, _in order to ensure basic human needs and the demand for a safe and secure food supply, a protected environment, sustainable trade and economic growth, and coordinated capacity development. However, there is a big gap between the role that IPPC could and should play in protecting global plant resources and the one it is currently playing. The main problem is that, since 1997, the number of demands on and expectations for the IPPC and its Secretariat have increased at a rate outstripping the resources and funding available to advance the collective action agreed upon by the CPM. Furthermore, the current financial crisis has an obvious negative impact on IPPC s job because it limits national governments'' ability to implement new and better policies. ## Some of the most transcendent historical pests Prostephanus truncates, the larger grain borer. It was spread by accident from Central America to Tanzania, and by the 1980s it was expanded on the West Africa. It became the most destructive pest in the area, causing losses up to 70-80 % of stored maize grains and 30-40 % of cassava. The IPPC is now working on an International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM) on the international movement of grain that may help to reduce the risk of the occurrence of this type of pest introduction. Anoplophora glabripennis, was a pest known as the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB), came to North America in the 1980s threatening many species of deciduous hardwood trees. It was transferred by accident in wood packaging material. IPPC is still trying to protect trees from this pest, because if it becomes established in the United States 1,2 billion trees can die and, consequently, up to 4 million people could lose their job in the eastern USA alone. Puccinia graminis tritici, a deadly fungus which threat the world s second largest crop: wheat. This fungus can destroy entire wheat fields, endangers the food security and the economy of more than a billion people in developing countries. In 2010, two new aggressive forms of the fungus were found in South Africa for the first time in 2010, raising concerns that it could spread. Liberibacter spp., also known as citrus greening disease, is considered the worst disease of citrus caused by a vectored pathogen. Transmission is by the insect Diaphorina citri, which likes citric such as lemon and orange trees. Consequently a lot of trees die, the citrus production is greatly reduced and the economic value of the fruit is damaged. The disease has affected crops not only in Asia (China, Taiwan, India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Pakistan, Thailand, the Ryukyu Islands, Nepal, Mauritius, and Afghanistan) but also in Saudi Arabia, Brazil and, most recently, the United States, Mexico, Belize and other countries in Central America. Lobesia botrana, European grapevine moth (EGVM), is the worst pest of grape wherever it has been introduced. Without control, crop damage can be significant, in some cases leading to losses of 80-100 percent. Its impact is, basically, on local communities, state s economy, and domestic and international trade with reduced availability of fresh and processed commodities. It is a pest of economic importance in Europe, the Mediterranean, southern Russia, Japan, the Middle East, Near East, and the northern and western areas of Africa. It has been reported form the wine areas of Chile, the United States and Argentina. Ceratitis capitata, Mediterranean fruit fly, is a significant pest of fruit and vegetables with an enormous negative impact on horticultural production. One year after its detection in Mexico in 1977, this country and United States established a programme to prevent further introductions from Central America. Without the on-going control and eradication programme in place in Mexico, potential losses would be around $4.2 million US dollars in lost fruit and vegetables and costs of pesticides needed to manage this pest. In addition, there would be an estimated $25.8 million in lost export sales and $17.5 million in indirect impacts: diminished public health in the rural areas, lost employment in the horticultural sector, and environmental harm.