Canada’s Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister, Lawrence MacAulay is supporting the United Nations’ proclamation of the International Year of Plant Health for 2020.
In a news release, MacAulay says the federal government recognizes protecting Canada’s plant resources is vital to food security and Canadians’ wellbeing.
“Plants are not only the first link in the food chain, they are critical to Canada’s economy. The national crop industry generates over $22 billion in exports alone,” MacAulay says.
According to the UN, the international “year of” designations mark particular events or topics in order to promote, through awareness and action, the objectives of the organization.
2019 has been proclaimed the International Year of Indigenous Languages, of Moderation, and of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements. Agriculture has been strongly represented by these designations in the past with the UN proclaiming 2016, 2015, and 2014 the International Years of Pulses, of Soil, and of Family Farming, respectively. Also of note, the UN declared 2019–2028 the Decade of Family Farming.
The minister says that Canadians continue to work hard to maintain the highest level of plant health and food safety in our country, but the spread of pests and diseases – especially through global trade and travel – presents serious risks to agriculture and to our environment.
“I am honoured to announce the Government of Canada’s support of the adoption of the United Nations’ resolution on the International Year of Plant Health in 2020.”, MacAulay says in the statement.
The Canada Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is designated as Canada’s National Plant Protection Organization, and alongside other federal departments, leads Canada’s efforts with other international partners to raise awareness about the damaging effects of plant pests and disease, and to help gather support to strengthen international plant health protection.