If there is one thing Wales’ growers have in common, it’s the shared passion, pride and desire to consistently deliver high quality plants and produce. But you can’t have quality plants without healthy plants and this is very much affected by whether they are infected with diseases or troubled with pests. In a bid to support Wales’ growers, this October, Tyfu Cymru are pleased to launch the ‘Wales, Plant Health in Horticulture’ conference, which aims to bring together commercial growers and stakeholders from across the horticulture industry.
Pests and diseases can have a devastating impact and lead to production and sales losses. The destructive effect of Xylella in Europe is just one example of just why Wales’ horticulture industry needs to stand together to help protect the nations plant health and prevent the spread of pests and diseases.
Growers need to be able to identify the pests and pathogens that might affect their crop. Then they need to understand how to treat the pests and pathogens to ensure that they get a good quality crop at the end of their cycle and reduce the risk of lost crops which could potentially have been avoided with earlier identification of pests or diseases.
Today, the DEFRA plant health risk register has over 1,149 different pests and pathogens listed which are a potential threat to crops or the natural environment in the UK. Could you identify them?
For those growers also importing or exporting produce, then you are probably all too familiar with the need to get to grips with plant health legislation, which controls the import and movement of certain plants, seeds and organic matter such as soils, fruit, potatoes, vegetables, cut flowers, foliage and grains. To add a little more complexity, controls differ according to the species but could include the need for classification, a phytosanitary certificate, a plant passport and inspection requirement.
Which brings us to the matter of understanding just how Brexit implications may impact your business. If you are an importer or an exporter, your registrations for inspections for importing plants will change. It is important that as a grower you understand the legislations that apply to you and are aware of things like plant passporting and how you issue plant passports or phytosanitary certificates.
Protecting plants from pests and diseases is far more cost-effective than dealing with full blown emergencies, so prevention is critical to avoid the devastating impact of pests and diseases on agriculture, livelihoods and the sector. With the current challenges facing many businesses in the sector as a result of COVID-19, protecting yields, reducing waste and producing good quality plants is now more important than ever. And with 2020 being International Year of Plant Health there is also a word wide movement to understand plant health and how environmentally sensitive control measures need to be used.
In a bid to support Wales’ growers, this October, Tyfu Cymru are pleased to launch the ‘Wales, Plant Health in Horticulture’ conference, which aims to bring together commercial growers and stakeholders from across the horticulture industry. This is a great opportunity for businesses to deepen their knowledge of how they can reduce waste and losses resulting from pests and diseases and improve business through plant health diagnosis, as well as understanding of compliance with biosecurity, plant health legislation now and after Brexit.
In this new (and improved) format, the virtual conference will be held online over a two-week period, and will be filled with topics, case studies and briefings held at specific times, allowing you to join the sessions of interest to you. On this new delivery format, Sarah Gould, Tyfu Cymru Project Director commented:
“The COVID-19 pandemic brought an abrupt end to our face to face event calendars this summer, but in these times of uncertainty, it also challenged us to change our thinking and to embrace the technology available to us. Which is why we have taken the decision to move our plant health conference online, whilst looking at innovative new ways of delivery which will allow growers to dip in and out of sessions, from locations across Wales, at times that suit them.
We look forward to hosting the conference, and to welcoming speakers and delegates from all corners of the country.”