A One Health approach to plant health is vital if we are to sustainably feed a growing population expected to reach 10 billion by 2050, a group of scientists say.
Researchers who posted a comment in CABI Agriculture and Life Sciences magazine, suggest that the One Health approach can help optimize the net benefits of plant protection to achieve greater food security and improved nutrition.
One Health is an integrated, unifying approach aimed at sustainably balancing and optimizing the health of people, animals and ecosystems. It recognizes that the health of humans, domestic and wild animals, plants and the environment as a whole are closely related and interdependent.
Dr. Vivian Hoffman, senior fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), is the lead author of the commentary, which focuses on two major trade-offs at the intersection of plant health with animal, ecosystem, and human health.
Dr. Hoffman and researchers say protecting plant health through agrochemical use versus minimizing risks to human health and resistance to antimicrobials and insecticides is one consideration. Another, scientists say, is ensuring food security by prioritizing crop health agricultural production against the protection of ecological systems.
The commentary, which follows from a webinar hosted by CGIAR and attended by more than 200 participants from around the world, discusses the challenges and opportunities for advancement associated with each of these trade-offs, taking into account how stakeholder priorities and constraints may differ . by gender.
It emphasizes that building the capacity of regulators in low- and middle-income countries to conduct cost-benefit analyzes can improve decision-making in the context of these and other multidimensional trade-offs.
The webinar included presentations on sustainable intensification, the plant health benefits and human health risks of using manure and wastewater for fertilization food crops; Tanzania’s experience with ‘pesticide regulation’, managing plant-related food safety hazards when regulatory capacity is weak, and the role of gender in One Health.
Dr. Hoffmann said: “Improving crop yields through healthy plants is critical to food security for a growing world population. But agricultural production also threatens the ecological processes that underlie human health.”
The commentary, for example, emphasizes that agriculture accounts for 34%. greenhouse gas emissionsconsumes 84% of fresh water and is the largest source of eutrophication causing nitrogen and phosphorus pollution of aquatic systems.
“Activities aimed at promoting plant health practices that balance environmental concerns and food production must take into account farmers’ constraints, needs and motivations, including those mediated by gender,” added Dr. Hoffmann.
Webinar participants noted that farmers and other stakeholders with disabilities, and women in particular, cannot afford the luxury of prioritizing environmental sustainability.
Dr Hoffmann said: “This points to the need for external funding, perhaps through international green development or climate funds, to promote environmentally sustainable agricultural practices.”
The scientists also suggest that trade-offs are expected to depend critically on the intensity of exposure to environmental hazards, food safety status and income level all vary from country to country. Thus, they say, there is a need for context-specific analysis and thus a greater ability to cost benefit analysis in low-income and middle-income countries as a priority.
A unified approach to plant health, CABI Agriculture and Life Sciences (2022). DOI: 10.1186/s43170-022-00118-2
Courtesy of CABI
Citation: Scientists say One Health approach to plant health is vital to achieving sustainable global food security (2022, September 28) Retrieved September 28, 2022, from https://phys.org/news/2022-09- scientists-health-approach-vital-sustainable.html
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