Plant Biosecurity is of paramount importance to any country to safeguard food-security, sustainability of agricultural/horticultural production and also in protecting livelihood of people. Though incursion of alien pests into newer areas is not a new phenomenon, increased global trade has paved way for quicker entry of many exotic pests to hitherto unknown areas. Anthropogenic activities play a major role in such quick movement of alien pests either directly through trade or indirectly through illegal movement of seeds, planting material and agricultural commodities..
India is one among the 12 mega biodiversity centers in the world & is highly vulnerable to invasive pests. The far reaching consequences of entry, establishment, and spread of various kinds of pests are fearsome especially to a country like India due to its varied agro-climatic zones and due to its primary dependence on agriculture. The pest incursions in the past caused serious economic damage, notable among them are; coffee berry borer (Hypotehnemushampei), coconut eriophyid mite (Aceria gurrreronis), spiralling white fly (Aleurodicus disperses), cotton mealy bug (Phenococcus solenopsis), papaya mealy bug (Paracoccusmarginatus), sunflower downy mildew (Plasmopara halstedii), bunchy top of banana etc. Most of these invasive alien species have established and invaded widespread areas in India, due to lack of awareness among stakeholders and due to inadequate surveillance, containment and eradication programmes.
The Indian subcontinent is still free from many devastating pests of Agriculture, Horticulture, Plantation & Forestry plants which are causing serious damage elsewhere. There is a need to protect the entry, establishment & spread of these exotic & invasive plant pests in India. Government of India has initiated action to establish an integrated National Agricultural Biosecurity system covering plant, animal and marine resources, to combat threats of bioinvasion of pests and build capacity to enhance SPS compliance & competitiveness to gain market access and enhance competitiveness in international trade. In order to strengthen Agricultural Biosecurity in the country NIPHM has been designated as the nodal centre by Department of Agriculture & Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India to develop capacity of all stake holders. The activities undertaken by the division are:
I. CAPACITY BUILDING PROGRAMMEES
The division organizes a number of training programmes in Biosecurity & Incursion Management and special capacity building programmes to promote SPS compliance. In addition to regular training programmes, organizes Workshops, International programmes and exclusive programmes for the Officials of DPPQ&S.
A. Biosecurity and Incursion Management
Biosecurity and Incursion Management
Rapid globalization and advancements in transport, travel, tourism coupled with liberalization of trade pose increased risk of introduction of exotic and invasive pests
into the country. Alien Plant Pests which gained entry into India are causing significant economic damage to agricultural production.
The training programme of 21 days duration provides d exposure to participants in biosecurity concepts, impact of invasive alien species and exotic pest threats. The participants will able to understand various strategies that can be employed along the biosecurity continuum viz.,
i. Pre border -off shore inspection, certification and treatments, PRA & quarantine regulations.
ii. Border/ entry point - application of quarantine regulations, inspection, sampling, testing and treatment
iii. Post border- regulations for growing in post entry quarantine facilities, pest surveillance, exotic pest monitoring, containment and/or eradication of pests.
The participants will be familiarized with the decision making tools such as Pest Risk Analysis to identify potential pests of concern to India, importance of pest listing and pest database, risk management measures, Diagnostic techniques and protocols for regulated pests. The significance of pest surveillance, and pest risk analysis in securing market access for Indian agricultural commodities will also be highlighted. The mock exercises and case study analysis in the programme enables the participants to improve their skills in understanding and carrying out Pest Risk Analysis, emergency response in the event of new pest reports, use of Pest Risk Analysis to analyse the cost-effectiveness of eradication / containment programme, delimitation of infested area and identification of buffer zones and the measures needed for initiating eradication.
Quarantine Insects: Detection & Identification
Insect pests cause great damage in field and storage and hence are considered as threat not only to biosecurity but also to the food security. Reliable detection methodologies and accurate & timely diagnosis is paramount in identification of insect pests of quarantine concern to prevent entry, establishment and spread of pests of concern to India.
The participants learn about the concepts of quarantine, quarantine pests, regulated pests, economic impact of introduced pests in India, important insects of quarantine significance to India. The participants get exposure to the looming threats of insect pests to Agriculture, Horticulture, Plantation crops and Forest Trees, methods and protocols and online tools for identification of insect pests. The participants also get hands-on experience in collection, pinning and preservation of insect specimens and procedures to be followed for dispatching the specimens for identification to diagnostic centers.
Pest surveillance provides insights into the health status of a country’s agriculture and strengthens preparedness for preventive actions both in addressing the problems due to domestic pests of serious concern as well as in protection of native agricultural biodiversity from the incursion threats of exotic pests. Surveillance also provides vital information for development of robust quarantine policies and also facilitates early detection of invasive alien species which is very essential for their eradication. Establishment of pest free areas and areas of low pest prevalence to gain market access can be achieved only through well designed pest surveillance programmes.
During the 8 days training programme the participants will learn various pest surveillance strategies such as detection, monitoring and delimiting surveys. The tools required for surveillance of target pests and the procedures for establishment of Pest Free Areas to gain Market Access, various lures and traps for carrying out fruit fly surveillance for monitoring as well as for area-wide control will be covered during the programme.
Stored Grain Pests-Detection and Identification & Phytosanitary Treatment (MBr & ALP)
Increasing trade in stored grains and stored products is causing alarming biosecurity concerns. The international grain movement is increasingly becoming a contentious issue both for biosecurity protection and market access negotiations. The detection of such pests and precise identification is essential to determine the appropriate Phytosanitary treatment. Fumigation by and large is the most accepted Phytosanitary treatment. In India, fumigation with Phosphine and methyl bromide are accepted treatments.
Modular approach is adopted in NIPHM training programmes, so as to facilitate stakeholders to opt for appropriate module or for entire course depending upon their role and need. Accordingly 21 day duration training programme having two built in sub-modules viz. (i) Stored Grain Pests-Detection and Identification & (ii) Phytosanitary Treatment (MBr& ALP) are offered.
The participants will learn inspection & sampling methods to detect insect pests & identification of different stored grain insect pests by using various identification keys and online tools. The participants will also learn the importance of specific pests which hamper the exportable commodities from India, with specific reference to Khapra beetle. In the second module, the participants will learn the use of approved fumigants for quarantine purposes i.e. Methyl bromide and Phosphine.
During the two weeks programme the participants will be familiarized with physical and chemical properties of Phosphine and Methyl bromide, safety precautions to be followed while handling fumigants, mode of action of fumigants, principles of fumigation, monitoring the fumigant concentration, appropriate use and maintenance of fumigants and safety equipments. The participants will be made to understand the guidelines laid in NSPM-11, 12 (MBr fumigation) and NSPM-22 (Phosphine fumigation) to conduct appropriate fumigation procedures as well as the accreditation procedure of fumigation operators prescribed by the Directorate of PPQ&S. The participants will gain hands-on practical experience in creating gas-tight enclosure, laying gas supply and monitoring lines, use of vaporizer, fan, leak detector and gas concentration monitor.
Stored Grain Pest Management for FCI and CWCs
India is witnessing a record grain production in the recent years and the godowns are overflowing and warehouse management has become a tough task. The mere presence of insects, even dead, like that of Khapra beetle, results in serious setback in international trade of stored grains and products. The domestic management is also of serious concern especially in the context of food security requirement. An exclusive programme of 6 days duration for officers of Food Corporation of India (FCI), Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC) and State Warehousing Corporations is being is designed to create better skills and competency in managing the food grains from the ravages of pests at warehouses.
The participants will learn the importance of stored grain pest management in the context of national food security and global grain trade. The trainees will also learn methods to detect and identify various stored grain insect pests by employing appropriate identification tools, use of pheromones and traps, the significance of Systems Approach in managing the food grains and scientific fumigation of systems approach in managing the food grains and Scientific Fumigation using Aluminium phosphide as per NSPM 22 will be emphasized.
Orientation for PEQ Inspection Authorities
Imported consignments of plants have the potential to introduce quarantine pests. In some cases, period of quarantine is necessary for a specific consignment because of the impossibility of verifying the presence of quarantine pests in that consignment at the port of entry. Post entry quarantine allows for testing for the presence of pests, time for the expression of signs or symptoms, and appropriate treatment if necessary. The imported planting materials such as live plants, cuttings, saplings, bulbs, tubers, rhizomes, seed sprouts, bud wood etc., are to be grown under Post Entry Quarantine facility (confinement area) for stipulated period under supervision by notified Inspection Authorities viz., Heads of the Department of Plant Pathology of State Agriculture / Horticulture University, Crop specific ICAR Institutes and IARI.
In Six day training programme on orientation for PEQ Inspection Authorities the participants will learn the role and responsibilities of Inspection Authorities in safeguarding the nation from ingress of exotic pests, protocols to be followed in establishing and certification of open field or closed PEQ facilities. The programme covers the significance of PEQ inspections at required intervals and skills for detection and identification of quarantine pests, preservation of specimens, forwarding of specimens to nodal laboratories for authentication, applying appropriate mitigation measures in the event of detection of quarantine pests, reporting the clearance from PEQ and Import non-compliance (if any) for different types of planting materials as per the Standard Operating Procedures will be covered.
B. Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures
Globalization of trade has triggered large scale movement of plant materials and criss-crossing of the exotic pests across the continents through the commodities traded. To ward off entry and establishment of unwanted pests, Pest Risk Analysis helps to identify various Phytosanitary Measures that can be employed to mitigate the pest risk. Fumigation employing Methyl Bromide and Phosphine is most commonly employed Phytosanitary Treatment for Seeds, Grains, Fruits, Timber etc.; whereas, Forced Hot Air Treatment is being enforced for Solid Wood Packing Materials (SWPM). Plant Biosecurity Division organizes programmes to build the capacity of stakeholders in Public & Private sector as detailed below:
I. Programmes for Public Sector
Plant Quarantine National Regulations and Procedures:
As per Article IV of IPPC, each contracting party of IPPC shall make provision for an official National Plant Protection Organization to safeguard the country’s agricultural economy and the biodiversity from the ravages of exotic pests. The main responsibilities of public authorities involved are; issuance of Phytosanitary certificates, pest surveillance, pest risk analysis, inspection, disinfestations, post entry quarantine etc. The stakeholders viz., plant quarantine officials, PSC issuing authorities and PEQ inspection authorities, need to acquire appropriate knowledge on plant quarantine regulations, procedures and documentation in order to safeguard Biosecurity and to facilitate safe trade. Further, adherence to procedures facilitates safe international trade and reduces non-compliances.
The Six day duration training on ‘Plant Quarantine National Regulations and Procedures’ covers the important aspects such as importance of SPS Agreement, International conventions, National Regulations, SOPs on imports and exports. Further, through mock exercises & practical scenarios, the participants will learn the procedures for use of on-line PQIS software and procedures to be followed in import/export of seeds, plants, bulbs, grains, fruits, GMOs, Germplasm and bio-control agents.
Pest Risk Analysis:
Pest risk analysis (PRA) is a science based tool to tackle the alien pests of concern to any nation while facilitating international trade. PRA is a process which helps to assess the risks of entry, establishment and spread potential of exotic pests. PRA helps to identify the options to prevent the entry and management options in the event of pest establishment. The international standards brought out by IPPC serve as guidance for carrying out PRA.
The participants will learn the importance of International conventions & National regulations, SPS obligations for regulating trade based on pest risk analysis, concept of risk and risk analysis, PRA process for assessing the likelihood of pests being associated with the pathway, transport, its direct and indirect impact in the event of pest establishment, spread and the risk management options to minimize such event to happen. The participants will also learn the importance of PRA for market access for new commodities in the international trade through mock exercises.
Orientation for Phytosanitary Certification (PSC) Issuing Authorities
Phytosanitary certification is one of the basic measures employed by the IPPC member countries to prevent global movement of plant pests in traded agricultural commodities. Phytosanitary certificates are issued by the exporting NPPO as a plant health certificate after carrying out inspection, sampling, testing and treatment (if required) to promote safe trade. To promote export, D.A.C, MoA has notified more than 155 public Officers of Central/State Government, ICAR institutes and SAU’s for carrying out phytosanitary certification.
The participants will get acquainted on international regulations and obligations under IPPC to promote safe agricultural trade, the role and responsibilities of NPPO and PSC issuing authorities. They also learn procedures for use of on-line PQIS software skills for inspection & sampling, testing for pests of concern to importing countries, importing country’s regulations. The importance of PFA/ALPP in export promotion and role of phytosanitary treatments for mitigating the pest risks as per the Standard Operating Procedures for Phytosanitary Certification will be covered in the programme.
II Programmes for Private Sector:
Plant Quarantine Procedures for Imports and Exports:
The liberalization of trade in the post WTO scenario has opened up new avenues for international trade in agricultural commodities. One of the main components in the international trade of agricultural commodities is application of Biosecurity and quarantine rules & procedures, by exporting and importing countries. The PQ rules, procedures and degree of implementation vary in specificity and protocols from country to country. Proper understanding and following the procedures reduces the chances of consignment rejections, penalties and non-compliances which are of major trade concerns.A five day training programme will give exposure to participants on SPS and Technical Barriers, International conventions, National Regulations, SOPs on imports and exports. Practical scenarios on procedures for on-line PQIS software use in import/export of seeds, plants, bulbs, grains, fruits, GMOs, germplasm and bio-control agents will be explained.
Phytosanitary Treatments often serve as one stop solution at the end point of export. The increased trade in agricultural products is accompanied by the increased risk of entry of inadvertently transporting quarantine pests to countries or regions. Quarantine pests can seriously disrupt trade of fresh agricultural products not only between countries, but also between geographical areas within countries unless accepted post-harvest quarantine treatments are available. Phytosanitary treatments are helpful in safeguarding biosecurity and also in gaining market access. Following programmes on Phytosanitary Treatments were offered.
a) Fumigation (MBr& ALP):
Among the phytosanitary treatments, Fumigation is most accepted treatment. Fumigation treatment providers form an important and indispensable part for the import/export of agricultural commodities in international trade and knowledge and skill sets possessed by them can make a great difference in the success of phytosanitary treatments. NIPHM is one of the notified Institutes under Insecticides Rules 1971 Chapter III -10, (3a) (iii) for imparting training for commercial pest control operators on fumigation using Methyl bromide and Phosphine. The participants will learn use of approved fumigants, their physical and chemical properties, safety precautions to be followed while handling fumigants, modes of action of fumigants, principles of fumigation, monitoring the fumigant concentration, appropriate use and maintenance of fumigants and safety equipments. The participants will be able to understand the guidelines laid in NSPM-11, 12 (MBr fumigation) and NSPM-22 (Phosphine fumigation) to conduct appropriate fumigation procedures as well as the accreditation procedure of fumigation operators prescribed by the Directorate of PPQ&S. The participants will be given hands-on practical experience in creating gas-tight enclosure, laying gas supply and monitoring lines, use of vaporizer, fan, leak detector and gas concentration monitor.
b) Forced Hot Air Treatment (FHAT):
The packaging material is one of the most threatening pathway for incursion of timber pests across the globe. Forced Hot Air Treatment (FHAT) is one of the approved treatments for packaging material under ISPM -15. National Standard for Forced Hot Air Treatment (NSPM-9) has been developed which prescribes treatment procedures and the steps to register the facility. It is essential to certify the FHAT facilities to ensure that wood packaging material is treated and marked in consistence with the provisions of ISPM -15.
NIPHM is the only Institute in India to offer a specialized training programme on FHAT for industry stakeholders. The participants learn the critical requirements for establishing FHAT facilities, calibration of sensors, placement of sensor, identification of coolest point, safety precautions, conducting the treatments, use of appropriate mark and record keeping in accordance with ISPM – 15 and NSPM – 9.