The National Plant Protection Organisation of South Africa (NPPOZA) in the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) makes a clarion call to the agricultural fraternity, community members, members of the media, research institutions, government departments, schools, churches, academic institutions and the entire citizenry to note that the International Year of Plant Health (IYPH) 2020 has been launched on 02 December 2019 and contracting parties (Member States) will begin to roll out their awareness programmes from January 2020 until the closing ceremony in December 2020. South Africa joins countries in the world to celebrate plant health as part of recognising the importance of plants to our health, animal health, environmental care and biodiversity; socioeconomic, agriculture and rural development and so on. The year 2020 has been internationally recognised and declared as the International Year of Plant Health a year to celebrate plant health under the slogan of Protecting Plants, Protecting Life. In April 2016, the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures (CPM) of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) adopted the first formal initiative to declare 2020 as the International Year of Plant Health. In December 2018 (Subsequent to the adoption of the resolution by the 40th Session of the FAO Conference in July 2017), the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) declared 2020 the International Year of Plant Health and mandated FAO and IPPC to facilitate the implementation in collaboration with the government, private sector and civil society. The IYPH 2020 celebration activities at country level will be premised on the six key messages: 1. Keep plants healthy to achieve Zero Hunger and the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2. Be careful when bringing plants and plant products across borders 3. Make trading in plants and plant products safe by complying with international plant 2 health standards 4. Keep plants healthy while protecting the environment 5. Invest in plant-health capacity development, research and outreach 6. Strengthen monitoring and early warning systems to protect plants and plant health The agricultural fraternity and the entire citizenry are encouraged to take action and partake in this momentous opportunity of promoting plant health. The IYPH 2020 emphasises prevention and protection and believes that everyone has a role to play in preventing the spreading of pests and diseases of plants and plant products. Stakeholders or interested bodies are encouraged to organise IYPH events in the forms of marathons, concerts, shows, exhibitions, roadshows, farmers forums, festivals, fairs or tree planting ceremonies; host public lectures and have panel or round table discussions with government officials, educators, scientists, farmers and private sector representatives. Take action by organising an IYPH 2020 event, join the IYPH photo contest, feature your plant health story in the IYPH campaign, bring the IYPH to your village, town or city, airport and seaport, encourage youth to take action and invite the media professionals and influencers to be part of these crucial activities. The DALRRD will lead the launch in South Africa on the date to be announced soon. To all international travelers and traders, please avoid unauthorised importation of plant and plant products and declare plants and plant products at the ports before entering the country. At national level, all people must refrain from moving regulated host plants and plant products from quarantine to non-quarantine areas without removal permits. Farmers are advised to adopt sustainable pest management practices as part of taking care of the health of plants. Ensuring plant health is a shared responsibility amongst all of us.

Source: Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries