Plant health remains a particular concern to the potato industry and will continue to be a focus for activity in 2012/13. Our efforts will be concentrated on populating our Plant Health framework, which consists of 5 pillars.
Pillar I: Taking care of domestics-recognises that existing domestic issues (e.g. Blight, PCN) could be elevated to threats based on either possible removal of crop protection products or changes in epidemiology (new strains or adaptation to climate change). PCL has an existing R&D response in most areas but needs to take account of changes as they occur.
Pillar II: Providing a platform-recognises that the existing Safe Haven Scheme provides a vehicle for delivering high plant health but marketing to ware producers has been “soft”. Furthermore, it was designed around ring rot prevention and may or may not be appropriate for some plant health issues. PCL has hypothetically “tested” the scheme with Dickeya. Whilst the scheme doesn’t provide a complete solution it certainly contributes to control.
Pillar III: Learning through collaboration-recognises that PCL has an existing network of international contacts and is well placed to capture best practices on plant health issues. As yet though, there is no mechanism to record and test scenarios (e.g. how would zebra-chip play out in a GB context?)
Pillar IV: Accounting for new threats- builds on evidence captured under pillar III and requires closer working relationships with agency and government plant health departments. PCL has already initiated work on Dickeya and has reviewed Epitrix threats.
Pillar V: Raising awareness and changing behaviours- specifically addresses the need for consultation and communication early in this campaign and allows for the subsequent setting of further communication objectives. There is a requirement as discussed previously to test the perceptions and perspectives from different stakeholders (these include Plant Health agencies, RIs, packers, processors, seed, growers and trade bodies). Specifically there is a requirement to engage with stakeholder as the review of EU Plant Health Directive takes place.