Due to the threat of Xylella fastidiosa and the potential devastation it poses to the horticultural industry the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) has created a 30-day action plan. Through initiatives such as education and sharing best practice, the HTA want to continue to increase awareness of Xylella and help reduce the threat of it being introduced into the United Kingdom.
Over the next 30 days, the HTA is increasing its communications to both HTA members and non-members, producing Xylella Guidance Toolkits for business to educate themselves, their staff and consumers. These materials can then also be used to hold cluster meetings within their local area to ensure that businesses are working together where possible. With the destruction of stock within 100m and a 5km movement ban in place as a result of an outbreak, shared responsibility is vital.
The HTA is also sending out 500 letters to non-member businesses, encouraging them to sign up to the HTA Responsible Sourcing Statement; Deciding to not knowingly import host plants originating from regions where the disease Xylella is known to exist as a minimum.
The HTA has led the pilot development of an industry scheme to drive improvement in plant health management at nurseries, the Plant Health Assurance Scheme. This idea came from the HTA and APHA Biosecurity Conference 2015 and a prototype scheme developed by Boningale Nurseries. The HTA is following up on a proposal with government and hopes to achieve backing and support to help incentivise the scheme and roll this out.
The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) are also in the process of creating industry accredited training to help improve biosecurity practice, and the HTA is helping to develop this, and will promote the roll out of it once it is in place.
These are just a few of the points raised in the 30-day plan, and only part of the work that the HTA is engaged in. To find out more information and read the full plan, visit https://hta.org.uk/assurance-compliance/plant-and-disease-alert-xylella-fastidiosa/xylella-30-day-action-plan.html