Conference highlights need for industry collaboration to improve plant biosecurity

The International Association of Horticultural Producers (AIPH) online conference ‘Working Together for Better Plant Health’ on 24 March 2021, brought together growers, traders, scientists, plant-health professionals, and decision-makers from more than 50 countries.

Sponsored by Royal FloraHolland, MPS and Visser Horti Systems, the event focused on how the industry can work together to improve plant health. Tim Briercliffe, AIPH Secretary General, said, “From this conference it was clear to see that in many countries around the world there is industry recognition that regulatory compliance alone is not enough to protect the sector from plant health threats and to maintain confidence in plant trade.

“National, industry-led schemes have emerged over recent years. They have been developed independently, but with the same goals. The conference identified a clear need for more dialogue between countries on this issue and the possibility of developing a benchmark standard that could provide international recognition. The potential for collaboration with National Plant Protection Organisations in this will also enable growers to develop systems that reach common goals in a cost-effective way.”

Keynote speaker Mr Ralph Lopian of Finland, Chair of the International Steering Committee for the International Year of Plant Health, announced that the IPPC (International Plant Protection Convention) would be releasing guidance to National Plant Protection Organisations (NPPOs) on how to recognise and work with non-regulatory industry schemes and initiatives.

More than three quarters (77.5%) of those surveyed indicated a need for a voluntary international [inter-regional] plant health and biosecurity standard, and AIPH has said it will publish a full report on the issue in May.

Photo caption: The International Year of Plant Health has highlighted the need for more international cooperation

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