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Healthy plants constitute the foundation for all life on earth, making up the oxygen we breathe and over 80% of the food we eat.

Plant health is the key to the sustainable intensification of agriculture to feed the growing global population by 2050. Thus, recognition, advocacy, and support for the promotion of plant health are of paramount importance if the international community is to guarantee plant resources for a food secure world based ​on stable and sustainable ecosystems. With this in mind, in July 2017, the FAO Conference approved a draft resolution requesting the General Assembly of the United Nations to consider declaring 2020 as the International Year of Plant Health (IYPH).

The United Nations has declared 2020 as the International Year of Plant Health (IYPH).

The year is a once in a lifetime opportunity to raise global awareness on how protecting plant health can help end hunger, reduce poverty, protect the environment, and boost economic development.

International Year of Plant Health 2020

Protecting Plants, Protecting Life

Plants are the source of the air we breathe, and most of the food we eat, yet we often don’t think about keeping them healthy.

This can have devastating results. FAO estimates that up to 40% of food crops are lost due to plant pests and diseases annually. This leaves millions of people without enough food to eat and severely damages agriculture – the primary source of income for rural poor communities. Plant health is increasingly under threat. Climate change, and human activities, have altered ecosystems, reducing biodiversity and creating new niches where pests can thrive. At the same time, international travel and trade have tripled in volume in the last decade and can quickly spread pests and diseases around the world, causing considerable damage to native plants and the environment. Protecting plants from pests and diseases is far more cost-effective than dealing with full-blown plant health emergencies. Plant pests and diseases are often impossible to eradicate once they have established themselves, and managing them is time-consuming and expensive. Prevention is critical to avoid the devastating impact of pests and diseases on agriculture, livelihoods, and food security, and many of us have a role to play.