Workshop: Working Beyond Boundaries to Secure Plant Health and Productivity Beltsville, Maryland-October 11-13, 2017

PROCINORTE Working Beyond Boundaries to secure Plant Health and Productivity

Ottawa, October 18, 2017

Top scientists from USA, Mexico & Canada met in Beltsville, US to review the latest developments regarding invasive insects, fungi and mites affecting food supply.

While official talks on the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) concerning Agriculture are underway, it is acknowledged that agricultural trade among the 3 countries – USA, Canada and Mexico, has mushroomed since the agreement was crafted some 23 years ago. With this increased trade, came, not only a diverse range of agri-food products, but also pests and diseases which need to be managed in the 3 countries. Additionally, with greater inter-regional movement of people & goods, the 3 countries also stand to benefit from shared strategies for identifying, controlling and managing pests, from faraway lands.

This was the essence of the 2-day meeting held at the USDA-ARS facility in Beltsville recently, as top scientists from USA, Mexico & Canada met to review the latest developments regarding invasive insects, fungi and mites affecting our food supply.

Increasingly, molecular tools are being used to identify insects such as the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, a pest that has been found to be spreading across the globe (including the Americas). Information gained can also be used in biological control methods which continue to provide comparative advantage for a variety of insects

It was also gratifying to learn of exciting work utilizing E-probe Diagnostic Nucleic Acid Analysis for any type of plant pest. Participants not only heard about the sophisticated tools being used, but also had first-hand view of the state of the art Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) and Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM) in the Beltsville Agricultural Research Centre (BARC).

Scientists also had the opportunity to discuss prospects of joint projects, setting the stage for continued collaboration.

The Workshop was hosted by PROCINORTE’s Plant Health Task Force, with members representing Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), United States Department of Agriculture/Agriculture Research Service (USDA-ARS) and Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Forestales, Agricolas y Pecuarias (INIFAP), with Secretariat support being provided by IICA.

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