20/11/2017 Rotorua, New Zealand

The international movement of seeds, maintaining their health in-transit and the critical role seeds play in increasing agricultural productivity, is one of a number of globally important issues to be discussed at the 30th Session of the Asia Pacific Plant Protection Commission (APPPC), meeting over the next five days in Rotorua, New Zealand.

According to the International Seed Federation, the value of the global seed industry in 2014 was USD 23.1 billion, with the value of the Asia-Pacific seed industry reaching USD 2.15 billion. The Asia and Pacific region, which is one of the key markets for seed industry countries such as China, India, Japan, and Australia, use large amounts of seeds each year. Meanwhile, APPPC member countries such as India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Viet Nam, and Thailand are the main global seed producers and exporters.

“The seed trade around the world is growing every year in line with increasing demand to produce higher amounts of foods as populations grow. Ensuring effective plant quarantine to facilitate safe trade of seed and other produce is essential,” said Eriko Hibi, Coordinator of the Food and Agricultural Organization’s Subregional Office for the Pacific Islands, in advance of the meeting.

During a special one-day session on seed trade and seed health, representatives from seed industries, national and regional plant protection organizations (NPPOs/RPPOs) will highlight their trade requirements, phytosanitary issues and challenges, and discuss possible collaboration between government agencies to fulfill the international standard on the movement of seeds (ISPM 38).

New standard to protect mangoes from fruit flies

Another important item on the APPPC agenda, according to FAO Senior Plant Protection Officer, Yongfan Piao, is to adopt a new regional standard on phytosanitary measures for the hot water treatment of mangoes to ward off fruit fly invasion. The meeting aims to harmonize regional phytosanitary measures in mango treatment to facilitate the lucrative mango trade between mango exporting and importing countries. The draft standard has been developed and is ready to be adopted at this session of the APPPC.

The meeting is being attended by about 80 participants from the National Plant Protection Organizations of 20 countries in Asia and the Pacific, together with observers. The event is organized by FAO in collaboration with New Zealand’s Ministry of Primary Industry and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. During the meeting, a breakout group will visit New Zealand kiwi fruit farms and other agricultural activities in the well-known Rotorua hot springs area, including a visit to packing houses for exports of agricultural produce.

The Asia Pacific Plant Protection Commission is the regional body that addresses issues related to preventing the movement of invasive pest species that affect agriculture through trade and strengthening the plant biosecurity capacities of its member countries in Asia and the Pacific. FAO, as the Secretariat of the commission, assists countries in implementing the international regional standards on phytosanitary and sanitary to facilitate trade. Through its Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP), FAO provides funding to solve problems in member countries such as managing emerging pest outbreaks, strengthening surveillance of capacity to monitor pest outbreaks and establishing sound pest control strategies, pest-free production sites or areas for export compliance and market access negotiations and development of regional phytosanitary treatment standards.

FAO is also the implementing agency for the Global Environmental Fund (GEF) project for the management of pesticides and in assisting countries in improvement of pesticide life-cycle management associated to the Rotterdam, Montreal and Stockholm Conventions. Similarly for management of persistence of organic pesticides (POPs) for sustainable agriculture development through pesticide risk reduction by agro-ecological approaches.


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