Phytosanitation – prevention of introduction of plant pests into new areas – is critical to maintaining and sharing of plant genetic material. A CGIAR-wide program to raise awareness on phytosanitation highlighted the challenges and responsibilities of organizations engaged in storage and distribution of germplasm.
“Over the past 40 years, over 65 pests (fungi, viruses, insects/mites and weeds) have been intercepted at various entry points in India,” said Dr Kavita Gupta, Principal Scientist, Division of Plant Quarantine and Officer-In-Charge, Priority setting, Monitoring and Evaluation, ICAR-NBPGR*. Dr Gupta was speaking on ‘Phytosanitary Policies and Procedures Governing Exchange of PGR’. She emphasized the need to support research, training, capacity-building, networking and information sharing activities, both at national and international levels.
Dr J Alice RP Sujeetha, Director (Plant Biosecurity), NIPHM#, talked about ‘Recent pest threats to India’. “Fast-paced globalization and advancements in transport, travel and tourism, coupled with liberalization of trade has created a new situation wherein possibility of invasive alien species and exotic plant pests moving into a new ecosystem is a matter of great concern,” she stated. The recent entry of the Fall Armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) into India during 2018 is a relevant case in point.
Dr Pooran Gaur, Research Program Director-Asia, said Germplasm Health Units (GHUs) were carrying out critically important work for safe exchange of germplasm, and should be accorded due recognition. (For more information on the excellent work being done by ICRISAT GHUs, click here.)
As part of the International Phytosanitary Awareness Week (22-26 October), the GHU at ICRISAT invited experts in the field to share their knowledge on the subject in a seminar ‘Phytosanitary Awareness Week: GHUs in Invasive Pest and Disease Control’ on 24 October 2018. The seminar was organized by Dr Rajan Sharma, Head, Plant Quarantine Unit, ICRISAT, who underlined the role of ICRISAT PQU/GHU as a vital support for genebanks, breeding programs and international distribution and conservation of pest-free germplasm.
*NBPGR-National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources
#National Institute of Plant Health Management