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Funding given to map global effects of crop disease

Field of crops

9 Jul 2019

The Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI), UK, has received US$200,000 to bridge the data gap in plant health and measure the global burden of crop pests and diseases, which will help aid policymakers progress plant health goals.
Tiffany Hionas

Household livelihoods, national economies and global food security are negatively impacted by the threat of plant pests and diseases, damaging commodity and staple crops such as bananas, maize and wheat.
With the aim of improving global food security and managing the damaging effects of crop pests and diseases, CABI has received a US$200,000 grant from the Grand Challenges program – an initiative of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – which will enable them to measure the global impacts of crop pests and diseases.

The Global Burden of Crop Pests and Diseases initiative is an important project in addressing the urgent need to gather evidence on the impacts and drivers of plant health problems, especially as an estimated 40% of crops are lost to pests around the world.

The urgency to gather data is essential, especially as the scope of data is lacking and outdated, and in some localities professionals in plant health do not exist, and therefore no data has been collected.

Cambria Finegold, Global Director, Digital Development at CABI, said: ‘By developing the Global Burden of Crop Pests and Diseases initiative, we aim to gather sufficient and reliable data to act as evidence to enable the prioritisation of research and policy in plant health and provide the most accurate and relevant information for decision makers to allocate resources between diseases and systematically develop investment in, and capacity of, plant health systems.’

The Global Burden of Disease initiative has made significant changes in human health, transforming the health policy agenda and providing comprehensive evidence on the impact of health problems, causes and risks which pose as threats to the population.

It is expected than within a time frame of 18 months, CABI will be able to provide all the data and information needed to meet stakeholder’s needs, as well as build a global community of researchers.

The team endeavour to present their findings in 2023, and by that time, the team will be able to capture and measure the global impacts of crop pests and disease, and therefore bridge the evidence gap in plant health.

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