Plant protection is the science and practice of managing pests, diseases and weeds that damage crops and other plants, and which can have a devastating effect on farmer’s livelihood
Plant Protection mainly focuses on keeping plants healthy from diagnosing diseases to implementing environmentally friendly pest-management practices. With an ever-expanding population and increasing pressure on food and fiber supplies, Plant Protection plays a vital role in improving our quality of life.
Plant protection also involve the ability to anticipate the emergence and spread of noxious organisms and to prevent their introduction and spread before they become agricultural pests in specific crops and regions. In this regard, international biosecurity measures and rapid and efficient sharing of information across continents and countries becomes of paramount importance for preventing new invasions.
In order to have holistic plant protection the following are the step wise actions
The first step is to ensure a correct diagnosis of a problem, which involves a proper identification of the organisms responsible for the damage and symptoms observed. The legacy of classic taxonomy, anchored on world-wide collections of invertebrates, micro-organisms and plant collections, is the primary resource base for comparing collected specimens with referenced ones. Modern information technology and biotechnological tools have allowed the development of modern and time-saving field and lab identification tools for known threats which can be detected before the pests invade new areas.
The second step is to assess the extent of the damage and the yield or revenue loss likely to result from this damage, which enables the grower to make informed decisions on whether to invest resources in combating the pest, if the farmer decides to take action to reduce pest attack.
The third step is to consider various options available for controlling pests, including host plant resistance, cropping system and cultivation practices that reduce pest populations, the conservation and introduction of antagonistic organisms, such as parasites and predators of pests, and active interventions through the application of chemically- or biologically-based pesticides.