16 October 2014 – Senior CABI plant health expert, Dr Julie Flood, will be speaking at the International Conference on Global Plant Health Risks and Consequences. This major new conference, jointly hosted by the Food and Environment Research Agency and the CSIRO’s Biosecurity Flagship (Australia), will take place on 27-28 October 2014 near York in the UK. It brings together experts in plant health science, risk, policy making and economics to discuss the current and future threat posed to global biosecurity by plant pests and diseases, and the policy implications and potential answers for mitigating the risks.

Dr Flood, Senior Global Director for Trade and Commodities at CABI, will talk about managing pests in global commodity networks, focusing on policy perspectives. “The vast majority of commodity production in the world comes from small farms of half a hectare, or less,” says Dr Flood. “Despite commodity crops forming a substantial proportion of a country’s exports, farmers often have little access to plant health support. Pests (including diseases) can drastically reduce yields affecting producer livelihoods, as well as impacting the global supply of commodities.”

Feeding a world population projected to grow to nine billion by 2050 poses a significant challenge. With global dependence on a core of key crops, major plant health threats have a substantial impact on global food production. As a result, solutions must be found, and improved biosecurity is one such solution.

Sponsored by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) Co-operative Research Programme, the conference will cover the critical balance between policy and economics to deliver the interests of the agri-food industry, the public and global trade. Key speakers will attend from Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, Uganda, the USA and the European Union.

The UK’s Chief Plant Health Officer, Nicola Spence, says, “With a growing world population dependent on a core of key crops, it is important that we identify and tackle these risks. It’s good to see so many international experts coming to the UK to share their knowledge and experience in order to progress global preparedness for these plant health issues.”

More information about the conference can be found at: fera website.

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