Preventing pests and diseases is better than management and everyone has a role to play

Nairobi - The International Year of Plant Health was inaugurated yesterday in Nairobi, with a call that nations increase awareness on the importance and positive impacts of plant health in addressing hunger, poverty, threats to the environment and economic development.

Addressing about 30 stakeholders who attended the event, KEPHIS Chairman Mr. Robin Achoki reiterated that plant health is important as good plant heath ensures that the government's agenda of food security and nutrition is met.
FAO Representative to Kenya stated that plants are the source of everything eaten and what is lost as a result of pests should not be taken lightly. He cited the reality of pests which can stay in soil for a long time thus causing massive losses to crops.
"The Potato Cyst Nematode (PCN) can stay in the soil for up to 20 years greatly affecting potatoes," he said. Others are the Fall Armyworm which was detected in 2017 in Kenya and rapidly spread to many regions in the country. "Tuta Absoluta affects Tomatoes and you have seen its severity," he emphasized.
Preventing pests and diseases is better than management and everyone has a role to play," he reiterated.
KEPHIS MD Dr Esther Kimani urged those present to respect plant health regulations. She also took the participants through various pests that the country is grappling with including the Papaya Mealy Bug affecting paw paws and the fruit flies that is affecting mangoes.
She urged travelers not to take plants with them during travel as they can grow and cause damages to agricultural resources; travelers should instead declare any plants in their possession to KEPHIS inspectors at all entry and exit points.

The International Year of Plant Health 2020 officially inaugurated in Nairobi with a breakfast briefing to stakeholders. The year aims to raise awareness on the importance and positive impacts of plant health in addressing hunger, poverty, threats to the environment and economic development.