Stakeholders mark International Plant Health Day

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Managing Director of Maphlix Trust Farms, Dr Felix Mawuli Kamassah, has on the occasion of the 2024 International Plant Health Day rallied stakeholders in the agricultural sector to commit resources to the development of research, education and advocacy in promoting plant health in Ghana.

The day was marked in Tadzevu in the Volta region by Maphlix Trust Ghana Limited in collaboration with Federation of Ghanaian Exporters (FAGE).

Speaking at the event, Dr Kamassah noted that the theme for this year’s International Plant Health Day, ‘Plant health, safe trade and digital technology!,” underscored the vital importance of safeguarding plant health for the well-being of present and future generations.

“At Maphlix, through our dedicated efforts in research, education, and advocacy, we strive to raise awareness about the importance of plant health and to empower communities to take proactive measures to protect their crops and natural environments,” he stated.

As the world celebrated the achievements and contributions of plant health professionals around the world, Dr Kamassah charged stakeholders in the agricultural value chain to reaffirm their commitment to collective action in addressing “the challenges facing our plant ecosystems.”

He added that “by fostering collaboration, innovation, and sustainable practices, we can build resilient agricultural systems that are better equipped to withstand threats and ensure the continued health and vitality of our plants.”

“As we mark this International Plant Health Day, let us pledge to work together towards a future where plants thrive, ecosystems flourish, and all life on Earth is sustained. Together, we can make a difference and protect the plants that sustain life on our planet,” Dr Kamassah, who is also the Vice President of FAGE, said.

By leveraging digital platforms and mobile applications, farmers, extension workers, and plant health professionals are empowered with access to timely information, diagnostic tools, and advisory services, thereby enabling them to make informed decisions and take proactive measures to safeguard plant health.

Dr Kamassah maintained that digitization played a crucial role in facilitating international trade in plant products by streamlining trade procedures, reducing transaction costs, and enhancing traceability and transparency along the supply chain.

“Digital platforms such as electronic phytosanitary certification systems, blockchain-based traceability solutions, and electronic import/export documentation portals enable seamless exchange of trade-related information and documentation between trading partners, regulatory authorities, and other stakeholders.

This not only expedites the clearance of plant products at border checkpoints but also ensures compliance with phytosanitary requirements, sanitary and phytosanitary standards, and international trade regulations,” he added.

President of FAGE, Mr. Davies Narh Korbo, observed that climate change had exacerbated plant pest outbreaks and other negative impacts on human and animal health and also the environment.

“It is imperative that we invest in robust plant health systems and adopt proactive measures to mitigate risks and safeguard the sustainability of our agricultural exports. By enhancing surveillance, early detection and response mechanisms we can effectively manage pest and disease outbreaks, ensuring the continued success of our agricultural non-traditional commodities in global markets. ”

On his part, the Ketu North Municipal Assembly Director of Agriculture, Mr Lovelace Kudoto accused Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies of deliberately obstructing the work of the agric department under their ambit and making the department ineffective in providing extension services to farmers.

Mr Kudoto lamented that the delivery of extension services had been fraught with a lot of challenges due to the fact that in practice, the MMDAs were unwilling to adequately resource the agric departments so they could carry out their mandates.

Mr Kudoto expressed frustration with the situation, saying “recruitment of agricultural extension staff at the district level used to be done by MoFA but this function is now carried out by the local government service.

He recommended that the Departments of Agriculture should be given back to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture if government was bent on seeing improvement in Agricultural Extension.

GNA

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