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05 March 2020

International Year of Plant Health

Switzerland: International Year of Plant Health, 5 March 2020. Images from Swiss Post.

The United Nations designates specific days, weeks, years or decades as occasions to mark certain events or themes in order to promote the organization’s goals through action and awareness-raising. In 2020, plant health will take center stage. Certain plants are in danger: global trade and travel mean that new plant diseases and pests are reaching Switzerland more and more frequently. As a consequence of climate change, the risk of freshly introduced pests potentially becoming permanent residents here and then spreading is increasing, which can have a major impact. To raise awareness of this ever-growing threat and spur people into action, the UN has named 2020 the “International Year of Plant Health”. This goal is represented by a Japanese beetle in the stamp motif on the CHF 0.85 stamp, designed by Angelo Boog. This bug, which was introduced into Italy a few years ago, can now be found in Switzerland as well, in southern Ticino. Over 300 species of wild plants and crops are food for the Japanese beetle, including fruit trees and the vine illustrated on the stamp. Thanks to the five white tufts of hair on its side, it is easy to tell the Japanese beetle apart from the garden chafer and the cockchafer. Anyone who spots this beetle must report it to the plant protection authority in their canton.

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