This year’s British Society for Plant Pathology (BSPP) Grand Challenges in Plant Pathology Study Group gathered at Chicheley Hall, Milton Keynes, UK, 25-28 September 2018. Chicheley Hall is a grade II listed country mansion, home of the Kavli Royal Society International Centre. This was the second meeting of its kind, following on from the first successful meeting at the University of Oxford in 2016.
The recent International Congress of Plant Pathology (ICPP) in Boston brought together members of the plant health community from all over the world. Large events are a great place to forge new relationships, strengthen existing ones, or simply get everyone together in one place. The importance of working together is always emphasised when all corners of the community come together and find the space to discuss and discover common ground.
The Agriculture Department in Pakistan recently organised a two-day agriculture expo (23-24 June 2018) at the Expo center Lahore. The aim of the expo was to introduce recent interventions and advances in the agriculture sector to both farming and non-farming communities.
Globally, over 500 million smallholder farmers provide food for two thirds of the world’s population. With 40% of crops lost annually to pests, achieving zero hunger by 2030 depends on increasing the productivity of these smallholders.
We already have weather forecasts, pollen forecasts and UV forecasts, but what if farmers had access to pest forecasts?
Everyone knows forests are home to a wealth of biodiversity, with the Amazon alone hosting a quarter of global biodiversity. It is also now well established that diversity in crop production increases a farmer’s resilience to environmental stresses and shocks – from extreme weather to pests.
In terms of ending poverty, food insecurity and environmental degradation, agroforestry was positioned today at CFS44 as playing a crucial role in helping many countries meet key national development objectives epitomised under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).