And so, farewell to CPM10

Contributed by Roger Day, CABI

With a delicate tap of her wooden gavel, chairperson Ms Kyu-Ock Yim signalled adoption of the report of the 10th Session of the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures (CPM10) late on Friday afternoon. Delegates applauded; with satisfaction, with relief, in appreciation of the chair? Perhaps a bit of everything.

The report of the 10th Session of the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures (CPM10) was adopted late on Friday afternoon. and CPM11 was provisionally scheduled for April 2016. Source: IPPC facebook

The report of the 10th Session of the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures (CPM10) was adopted late on Friday afternoon. and CPM11 was provisionally scheduled for April 2016. Source: IPPC facebook

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The CPM chair Ms Kyu-Ock Yim will be back to chair CPM 11 in 2016. Source: IPPC facebook

Ms Yim will be back to chair CPM11, which was provisionally scheduled for 4-8 April 2016 in Rome.

But tributes were paid to participants for whom this CPM may well have been their last – at least in their current role. Mr John Hedley (New Zealand) was recognized for his “lifetime commitment to the goals of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC)”, and it’s hard to overestimate the contribution he has made. He was the first chair of the Interim Commission in 1998, since when he has served in numerous roles, latterly as a member of the Standards Committee.

Ms Jane Chard (UK) has also served for many years on the standards committee, but this was her last CPM as committee chair, surely one of the most demanding jobs in any of the CPM’s subsidiary bodies. And Ms Ana Peralta of the IPPC Secretariat was thanked for her major contributions particularly in the area of capacity development.

Many delegates will be back again next year, and CPM11 will be the usual mixture of old friends and new faces. But as CPM10 delegates parted ways, it was a case of “Fare thee well! And if for ever, still for ever, fare thee well” (Byron).

Update: Plant Health News (25 Mar 15)

Costa Rica's first carbon neutral banana farm had reduced its use of nitrogen fertilizers, reduced electricity consumption and improved the efficiency of transportation © The LEAF Project (CC BY-SA)

Costa Rica’s first carbon neutral banana farm has reduced nitrogen fertilizer and electricity use, and improved transportation efficiency © The LEAF Project (CC BY-SA)

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including early reports on the damage caused by Tropical Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu, the first carbon neutral banana farm recognised in Costa Rica and training for Citrus farmers in Ghana on the use of technology to increase yields.

Click on the link to read more of the latest plant health news!
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World Planting Day – 21 of March 2015

According to the astronomical definition, the first day of spring in 2015 is on March 20. When spring starts, nature also awakes! Not surprisingly, many favoured vegetables in Europe are sown in spring. That is why on March 21 we celebrate the World Planting Day.

Urban gardening brings planting back to the cities
Recently, the aim of manyyoung people and families with small children is to inspire city dwellers to start gardening in or around villages, towns, or cities

in order to make urban areas greener again. This so called ‘Urban gardening movement’ is the practice of growing food in an urban environment. But urban gardening is much more than that. It is a way for people to reunite with nature and the act of eating, and it is also a movement through which people are gaining more independence from the current industrial food system.

Think global, act local
Ideally, urban gardening (sometimes also referred to as ‘urban agriculture’) represents the place where environmentally-sustainable methods, the local economy, and relationships between people intersect, creating a thriving local food system and ensuring greater access to healthy food. And while the Plantwise programme, through the establishment of plant clinics, aims to reduce crop losses by tackling pests with the right knowledge, intending to improve food security of smallholder farmers in developing countries, urban gardening is a very powerful movement that can contribute to community food security in our urban village.

Urban gardening has led to a new trend and more and more people grow their own vegetables- for instance on their balconies. Mini-vegetables like small tomatoes, small cucumbers or zucchini can be planted on urban balconies. By using small wooden boxes, plastic buckets or clay pots, a biological vegetable garden can be created on a very small space.

In such wooden boxes mini-vegetables like small tomatoes, small cucumbers or zucchini can be planted to transform your urban balconies in a small garden. Photo: www.coopzeitung.ch

In such wooden boxes mini-vegetables like small tomatoes, small cucumbers or zucchini can be planted to transform your urban balconies in a small garden. Photo: http://www.coopzeitung.ch

Season and month are important factors for the sowing of vegetables. In order to catch the right moment for the sowing we share here a sowing calendar with some popular garden-grown vegetables. !
Celebrate World Planting Day and contribute to a greener future by growing on your balconies and gardens!

Season and month are important factors for the sowing of vegetables on your balconies and urban gardens. This sowing calendar will help you to find the right moment. Source: adapted from http://www.knauber-freizeit.de

Season and month are important factors for the sowing of vegetables on your balconies and urban gardens. This sowing calendar will help you to find the right moment. Click to enlarge! Source: adapted from http://www.knauber-freizeit.de

Electronic noses and other pest detection tech at CPM10

Contributed by Roger Day, CABI

Some of the latest gadgets and gizmos for detecting plant pests were demonstrated and discussed at the 10th Session of the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures on Thursday.

Inspecting for pests, whether in the field or in consignments, can be like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack. So anything to make it a little bit less hit and miss must be of interest to overworked inspectors. Here are a few of the technologies in different stages of development or deployment.

Electronic noses use ultra‐fast gas chromatography to detect volatile organic compounds, such as those released when a pathogen infects plant tissue. Identifying the chemicals characteristic of a particular disease allows the e-nose to be trained what to sniff for.

But if you can’t smell a pest, maybe you can hear it. The sound of a beetle boring through wood can be picked up using acoustic or vibrometry methods – though clever beetles may learn to sit still and avoid detection.

Many insects can be detected using traps baited with lures such as sex pheromones or food attractants. Smart traps have a camera fitted to send images to the inspector who can check many traps without leaving the office. Smart software can even analyse the images and raise the alarm if need be.

Drones or low-orbit satellites scan large areas at a level of detail impossible on the ground. They also see beyond the visible spectrum, so can potentially detect diseased plants before visual symptoms appear.

Generic DNA methods based on isothermal amplification techniques (LAMP) can provide quick and easy identification of pests located using other methods. Increased speed and decreased costs are making such methods more practical in the field.

ww.optigene.co.uk

This Genie II® – one of the machines that was presented at 10th Session of CPM – is a Generic DNA methods based on isothermal amplification techniques (LAMP) that can provide quick and easy identification of pests.                                 Photo: http://www.optigene.co.uk

It will be a while before some of these technologies become commonplace, especially in developing countries. But technology adoption is hard to predict, so watch this space.

Beware! Pests on the high seas

Contributed by Roger Day, CABI

If you put all the shipping containers in the world end to end, the line would go round the world 5 times. So a problem with a very small proportion of them is still a pretty big problem.

One such problem is that when a container is being packed with cargo, pests can get in and hitch a free ride to another country. So in 2008, the 3rd Session of the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures (CPM3) directed an expert working group to start developing an international standard for “Minimizing pest movement by sea containers”.

When a sea container is being packed with cargo, pests can get in and hitch a free ride to another country which can create considerable problems.

When a sea container is being packed with cargo, pests can get in and hitch a free ride to another country, creating considerable problems. Photo: http://www.europhoning.fr

CPM 5 (2010) directed that work on the topic was urgent, and a draft standard was produced, but at CPM7, after lengthy discussions late into the evening, it became “clear that this complex topic needed further consideration”.

Meanwhile, the expert working group was talking to the International Maritime Organisation and others who agreed to include phytosanitary requirements in their new Code of Practice for packing containers.

CPM9 (2014), perhaps a little frustrated at the speed of progress, decided that while work on the standard continued, a draft recommendation be prepared.

And so it was that this week CPM10 adopted a recommendation on sea containers. The risks need to be recognised, communicated to all those involved, and implementation of the Code of Practice supported. Where justified and practical, National Plant Protection Organisations should take action to mitigate the risks.

Which all goes to show that developing international standards is rarely plain sailing.

Back to the future at CPM10

Contributed by Roger Day, CABI

CPM10 has heard how the Strategic Planning Group (SPG) indulged in a little well-considered phytosanitary “future-casting” at its 2014 meeting. Challenged by the secretariat to think about what the IPPC might look like 20 years from now, members came up with over 60 points for reflection, grouped into 7 areas:

  • Technology, innovation and data
  • Resource mobilisation
  • Advocacy and awareness through strong communication
  • Implementation, participation and collaboration
  • The IPPC as a centre of excellence and innovation
  • The IPPC contribution to food security, environmental protection and economic prosperity
  • Simplified regulatory environment for the complexities of future global trade

The CPM is frequently told that funding constraints limit activities, so it’s disappointing (if realistic) that the phyto-prophets don’t see this problem going away any time soon.

Looking a little less far into the future, 2020 could well be the very first International Year of Plant Health (IYPH). CPM enthusiastically endorsed the idea, so now the extensive planning has to begin, with details to be presented to CPM11.

And also with an eye to the future, plans are advancing for the development of an electronic phytosanitary certificate system, e-phyto. Despite some concerns over costs and cyber-security issues, many contracting parties are keen to get started, and a proposal has been submitted to the Standards and Trade Development Facility to fund the development work.

20 years ago the CPM’s forerunner, the Interim Commission, didn’t even exist. Could anyone then have foretold what CPM10 would be discussing?

Update: New Pest & Disease Records (18 Mar 15)

White rust, seen here on mustard, causes white growths on the underside of leaves and yellow spotting on the top © Scot Nelson

White rust, seen here on mustard, causes white growths on the underside of the leaf and yellow spotting on the top © Scot Nelson

We’ve selected a few of the latest new geographic, host and species records for plant pests and diseases from CAB Abstracts. Records this fortnight include new gall midges from Papua New Guinea, the first report of white rust of rocket caused by Albugo candida in South Africa and the first report of Botrytis pseudocinerea causing gray mold on tomato in central China. 

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