Every year, on May 12, we celebrate Plant Health Day, a global observance dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of healthy plants for food security, biodiversity, and the environment. Plants play a crucial role in sustaining life on Earth, providing us with food, oxygen, and many other resources essential to our daily lives. In the context of climate change and increasing global challenges, maintaining healthy plant ecosystems has never been more crucial.

Enhancing a Supply Chain 

Annually, over 240 million containers are shipped worldwide, many containing plant products, which can carry biosecurity risks. Additionally, around 80% of international trade shipments use wood packaging, which can harbor pests. These invasive species cause an estimated $220 billion in global economic damage annually. Protecting plant health across borders requires global cooperation and adherence to international phytosanitary standards, like the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPMs). Innovations such as electronic phytosanitary certification (ePhyto) help make trade safer and more efficient. The International Day of Plant Health 2024 urges everyone to promote plant health to ensure food safety, facilitate secure trade, and support sustainable economies and livelihoods.

Why Plant Health Matters

Regarding the FAO article, plants are crucial for life, providing 80 percent of our food and 98 percent of our oxygen. Unfortunately, global travel and trade have facilitated the spread of plant pests, which are a major cause of biodiversity loss and harm the ecosystems that sustain our planet. Rising temperatures also contribute, by creating new habitats for these pests, leading to increased pesticide use, which negatively impacts pollinators and other key organisms. To combat this, eco-friendly approaches like integrated pest management are needed. International standards for phytosanitary measures (ISPMs) can also help limit the spread of plant pests through trade.

Sustainable Agriculture

The focus on sustainable agriculture aligns with the broader goals of the European Union to promote biodiversity, reduce carbon emissions, and ensure food security, in order to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. By prioritizing plant health, we can build a more resilient food system that benefits both the economy and the environment.

At VALPRO Path, we aim to create value chains that are not only competitive but also sustainable in the long term:

VALPRO Path’s Contribution to Plant Health

To celebrate International Plant Health Day, we’re highlighting the work of the VALPRO Path project, which is revolutionizing sustainable plant protein production. The project pioneers innovative approaches to plant-based food and feed production in the EU, focusing on crops like peas, lupin, chickpeas, faba beans, and lentils. By leveraging five Innovation Production Systems (IPSs) in Germany, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, and Denmark, we’re developing region-specific processes to maximize the value of these protein crops.

Innovation Through Co-Creation and Collaboration

The core of VALPRO Path is innovation through co-creation. Our multi-stakeholder approach brings together experts from crop science, food science, and social science, fostering a holistic perspective on plant health. Through ‘living lab’ production systems, we can test and demonstrate our ideas in real-world settings, ensuring that our innovations are practical and effective.

Join Us in Celebrating Plant Health Day

As we celebrate Plant Health Day, we invite you to join us on our journey toward a more sustainable future. Stay connected with VALPRO Path by subscribing to our Newsroom for updates on our progress, insights into sustainable agriculture, and information about upcoming events.

Happy Plant Health Day from the VALPRO Path team!

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