CABI’s latest ‘weapon’ in the fight against devastating crop pests has been presented to delegates at the International Plant Protection Convention’s (IPPC) Commission on Phytosanitary Measures (CPM) held recently at the FAO headquarters in Rome.
Dr Washington Otieno, CABI’s Plantwise Programme Executive, told delegates at the 14th session of the CPM that CABI’s new Pest Risk Analysis (PRA) tool provides National Plant Protection Organisations (NPPOs) with the ability to assess the risks posed by pests or pathways of quarantine concern and identify ways to manage those risks.
The PRA tool is being developed as part of the Action on Invasives programme, which is funded by UK Aid (DFID) and Directorate-General for International Cooperation (DGIS, Netherlands). It aims to protect and improve the livelihoods of 50 million rural families impacted by invasive species through an environmentally sustainable, regional approach to a comprehensive management of biological invasions.
The PRA tool works by drawing upon more than 3,800 datasheets on crop pests written by experts and hosted on CABI’s Crop Protection Compendium (CPC). The CPC contains detailed information on distribution, hosts, biology, phytosanitary risk, impact and management.
It supports decision making by presenting key scientific information, from the CPC, in a way that helps you decide which is the most appropriate action to reduce the risk of damaging pests that could be introduced and make sure plants and plant products are transported safely between countries.
Dr Otieno in his presentation at the meeting, which discussed a variety of plant health topics including phytosanitary capacity development and pest risks associated with sea containers and cargos, said that once the PRA tool is fully launched in the final quarter of this year it will offer a range of benefits including:
- The ability for users to produce and refine a list of pests that pose a risk.
- Facilitate individual pest risk assessments for each pest following four criteria. including the probability of introduction and potential consequences.
- A template for recording risk management actions.
- The ability to export an RPA report for sharing and printing.
Dr Otieno said, “The 14th session of the CPM was a great opportunity to demonstrate to key stakeholders the usefulness of the PRA tool in supporting NPPOs to step up the fight against crop pests which can devastate the livelihoods of millions of smallholder farmers, and ultimately, put global food security at risk.
“The PRA tool has the ability to revolutionize the way trade in plants and plant products may minimize phytosanitary risks – where early warning on pests between regions and countries is vital as well as the ability to detect and mitigate threats in a coordinated fashion.”
CPC subscribers are eligible for a free 3-month trial of the Pest Risk Analysis tool, a beta version of which was launched in Nairobi last December to 24 pest risk analysts from 11 African countries, by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Read Dr Otieno’s article on the Invasives Blog: ‘New pest risk analysis decision support tool in development from CABI’