Factsheet of the month: September – Bacterial wilt management in tomatoes

Bacterial wiltLast month, SciDevNet reported on a hybrid tomato variety that is encouraging Nepali farmers back into tomato production after the majority of plantations were wiped out by storms and disease 5 years ago. The variety, known as Shrijana, is high-yielding, wilt and disease-resistant and flavoursome. The higher yields have increased farmers’ incomes, thus raising their standard of living. This has allowed more farmers in Nepal to send their children to private schools. However, Nepali scientists will continue to research new varieties as it is possible that Shrijana could become susceptible to bacterial wilt over time.

Bacterial wilt is a common and devastating disease affecting a large number of hosts including potato and tomato. It is caused by the bacterium Ralstonia solanacearum which can cause damage to host plants at all growth stages. There are a variety of control measures that have found to be effective against the disease, of which the use of resistant varieties is just one. To read more about additional control measures, read this month’s Plantwise Factsheet for Farmers which was produced by employees from the Horticultural Research and Training Institute (Horti) in Tengeru, Tanzania. Please note this factsheet is also available in Swahili.

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Citrus greening threatens Floridian groves

Symptoms of citrus greening on citrus leaf

Symptoms of citrus greening on citrus leaf © CABI

Mabel Smith is an Oxfordshire school student, studying both the arts and the sciences. She is interning at CABI for Plantwise and the marketing department.

The disease, citrus greening, continues to cause problems for Floridian growers this week. The bacteria spreading insects are now running rampage throughout more than half of Florida’s citrus producing counties, causing an expected 20% decline in  harvest. Over the last 20 years around 60 million citrus trees have been abandoned across half a million acres of land due to this rapidly spreading and, so far, incurable disease. Greening has already caused irreversible damage in Asia and South America and many growers in Florida are giving up on the citrus market altogether to turn to more reliable alternatives like peach growing. Despite this, many growers are still optimistic and millions of dollars are currently being invested in further agricultural research into a cure.

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Update: Plant Health News (27 Aug 14)

Soil health issues cost African farmers $4 billion a year in lost crop productivity © Gates Foundation (CC BY-NC-ND)

Soil health issues cost African farmers $4 billion a year in lost crop productivity © Gates Foundation (CC BY-NC-ND)

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including surveillance robots that can detect weeds and pest insects, a focus on gender capacity development in Ethiopia and smallholder farmers in Africa adopting practices to improve their field soil health.

Click on the link to read more of the latest plant health news!
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Workshop held on future of Invasive Species Compendium

Abigail Rumsey:

The Invasive Species Compendium is a free, open access resource from CABI, providing comprehensive information about thousands of invasive species. It is great news that it has been decided to keep this resource free for at least five more years.

Originally posted on CABI Invasives Blog:

Members of the Invasive Species Consortium from the US, Mexico, Caribbean and South Pacific met in Washington DC on 4 August and unanimously agreed to keep the Invasive Species Compendium (ISC) an open access resource for a further five years. The ISC has been resourced by a diverse international consortium of government departments, development aid organizations and private companies. Consortium members agreed that work on the ISC to date was of global importance and utility, and should continue.

Invasive Species Compendium website

The Invasive Species Compendium website

The ISC is a global encyclopaedic resource that combines science-based information to support decision-making in invasive species management. Invasive species, such as non-native weeds, animals and microorganisms, are one of the main causes of biodiversity and economic loss worldwide, impacting livelihoods and human health. Since its launch, use of the ISC has continued to grow, now with over 400,000 users in 234 different countries.

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Update: New Pest & Disease Records (20 Aug 14)

Phytoplasmas that do not belong to the apple proliferation group have been found in infected apple trees in Iran © Brad Greenlee (CC BY)

Phytoplasmas that do not belong to the apple proliferation group have been found in infected apple trees in Iran © Brad Greenlee (CC BY)

We’ve selected a few of the latest new geographic, host and species records for plant pests and diseases from CAB Abstracts. Records this fortnight include 2 new phytoplasma species infecting apple trees in Iran,  the first report of Colletotrichum asianum causing anthracnose on Willard mangoes in Sri Lanka and the first report of Groundnut ringspot virus in cucumber fruits in Brazil.

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Food for thought: Cocoa farmers from Ivory Coast taste chocolate for the first time

Cocoa beans drying

Credit: Phil Taylor © CABI

In the past twenty years, the Ivory Coast has produced over 25 million tonnes of cocoa beans; far more than any other country. However, this video suggests that some cocoa farmers might never have seen the end product of the crop they spend their time cultivating. This has implications for the cocoa supply chain: if farmers don’t know what end product they are aiming for, how can they know how, or even why, they should improve quality of their produce? If there is no ‘top-down’ flow of information on the end uses of a crop, can we be sure of a ‘bottom-up’ flow of information on working conditions and pay? Working towards establishing closer relationships between the beginning and the end of the supply chain, could lead to a greater opportunity for smallholder farmers to get a fair deal.

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CABI shares knowledge with African universities

RUFORUM eventEach year, top university representatives from across Africa gather at the RUFORUM conference to learn about new developments in education and exchange ideas for collaboration. This year’s event, held in Maputo, Mozambique, from 21 July – 25 July, was an opportunity for CABI to increase awareness of its knowledge and training resources, especially those made available for the first time through its Plantwise programme. Read more of this post

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