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Improving lives by solving problems in agriculture and the environment

Biosecurity: protecting the economy, environment and human health

Biosecurity: protecting the economy, environment and human health

Biosecurity relates to protecting the economy, environment and human health from the negative impacts associated with the entry, establishment or spread of exotic pests.

It involves applying international sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) standards to ensure the production, processing and trade of safe, high quality food. CABI works with governments and national institutions to help them protect biosecurity throughout value chains – from production to export.

By supporting, advising and building capacity on SPS issues and measures within developing countries, we strengthen their ability to export produce. The work we do prevents pests and diseases from spreading, controls the use of potentially harmful chemicals and improves quarantine measures. 


We work with the private sector and national and regional biosecurity agencies to develop and implement risk-based biosecurity plans. A recent project in Malaysia has involved producing a plan to protect oil palm crops.  

We provide comprehensive and practical information on best practice SPS measures, including factsheets and books, databases and our online compendia.

We train farmers and organizations in the skills they need to take biosecurity measures. We also forge relationships between stakeholders in the public and private sectors, and between countries at a regional and national level, to encourage co-operation.  

To facilitate trade around the globe, we work with biosecurity agencies to encourage standardizing, harmonizing and improving the efficiency of SPS measures. We also promote the implementation of international biosecurity agreements, standards and guidelines. 

We develop and apply new tools and techniques for detecting, diagnosing and monitoring pests and diseases, including guides for farmers and plant doctors under our Plantwise programme.

Improving SPS training and knowledge sharing in cocoa (CocoaSafe)

Cocoa is an important source of income across Southeast Asia. To maintain access to markets, and sustain farmers’ livelihoods and national GDP, all food safety and international SPS (sanitary and phytosanitary) standards must be met. This project is building SPS capacity in the region, to ensure production and trade meets legislation on pesticide... >>

Ensuring Pakistan’s agricultural trade is healthy

Agricultural exports represent Pakistan’s largest source of foreign exchange earnings. The government has recognized the need to strengthen plant and animal health safeguarding systems, to meet the stringent Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) requirements of international trading partners. We are working with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA)... >>

Australia-Africa plant biosecurity partnership

Agricultural trade is a powerful engine for economic growth, poverty alleviation and food security but diseases are impacting it. Countries are therefore looking for ways of making agricultural trade secure. This initiative aims to facilitate trade by addressing plant pest and disease problems that hinder agricultural exports and threaten food... >>

Phytosanitary system development for the vegetable sector in Ghana

Ghana’s vegetable sector has the potential to create 20,000 skilled jobs, and increase exports to the EU. But exports are hampered by quarantine pests. This project aims to improve the current system and develop a new organic supply chain by establishing an effective phytosanitary system, facilitating strategic alliances between importers and... >>

An international plant sentinel network for botanic gardens and arboreta

Because of trade and climate change, the rate of new plant pests being introduced and establishing has increased. However, the scientific expertise is reducing. Coordination of the phytosanitary policies and regulations that underpin technical recommendations is needed. CABI is looking to overcome this issue by enhancing the activities that... >>

Tackling Pakistan’s pests

Tackling agricultural pests in Pakistan in a safe and sustainable way will save crop losses and benefit Pakistan’s exports. We are strengthening the capacity of Pakistan’s systems to implement biocontrol programmes for two pests that cause huge problems. We will also lessen the impact of post-harvest pests and improve the capacity of plant health... >>