Update: New Pest & Disease Records (10 Feb 16)

A new host has been found for bean blight in Iran, which causes necrotic lesions surrounded by a yellow halo.
A new host has been found for bean blight in Iran, which causes necrotic lesions surrounded by a yellow halo (P. H. Goodwin) 

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 Lima bean, a new host of Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. phaseoli in Iran, the characterization of Phytophthora amaranthi sp. nov. from amaranth in Taiwan. and new records of Lasiodiplodia theobromae in Tetrapleura tetraptera seeds from Nigeria and coconut fruit from Mexico.

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Agricultural innovation framework agreed in Rwanda

Contributed by Rachel Winks, CABI.

Agricultural innovation framework agreed in Rwanda

The partner organisations of the Tropical Agriculture Platform (TAP) met in Kigali, Rwanda, on 19-21 January to agree a new concept for agricultural innovation: the common framework on capacity development for agricultural innovation systems. With growing global population and increased food demand, agricultural innovation can help improve food security, increase farmers’ incomes and protect use of natural resources. CABI has been a key contributor to the agricultural innovation framework, bringing valuable experience of its Plantwise food security programme to the platform.

The common framework includes concepts, methodologies, principles and tools to help people better understand and harness agricultural innovation. It emphasizes interconnectedness and the importance of bringing individuals and organisations together to co-create new knowledge.  Continue reading

Update: Plant Health News (03 Feb 16)

Huanglongbing can be fatal for citrus trees (Source:USDA)
Huanglongbing can be fatal for citrus trees (Source:USDA)

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including the new parasitic wasp that can detect aphid infestation, the effect that El Niño will have on avocado in Peru and the threat of Huanglongbing (HLB) on agriculture in Colombia.

Click on the link to read more of the latest plant health news!

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CABI’s Dr Julie Flood becomes President of British Society for Plant Pathology

Contributed by Rachel Winks, CABI.

Dr Julie Flood, CABI’s Senior Global Director for Commodities, became President of the British Society for Plant Pathology (BSPP) on 1 January 2016. This is a 12-month post that follows on from her role as Vice-President in 2014 and President Elect in 2015. BSPP was founded in 1981 for the advancement of plant pathology – the study of organisms that cause diseases in plants. Dr Flood was one of the founding members of the society.
Dr Julie Flood
Dr Julie Flood

With growing demands on global food and commodity crop production, it is becoming increasingly important to share plant health information. Each year, the BSPP President holds an event bringing together leading scientists from the UK and overseas to discuss current issues about plant pathology. As part of her new role, Dr Flood will lead the presidential meeting. The theme will be ‘Food security, biosecurity and trade; the role of plant health’, and will be held at St Hugh’s College, Oxford, in September 2016. Continue reading

Feasibility of adopting an IPM approach for sustainable Christophene production in the Northern Range of Trinidad

plantwiseTT_14Contributed by Aldo Hanel, CABI. 

Brasso Secco is a pristine environment located in the Northern Range of Trinidad in close proximity to the world famous Asa Wright Nature Centre. This farming community, among others, is nestled deep in the bosom of the of the Northern Range where approximately 300 family farms depend on Christophene production for their economic survival and well-being. Agriculture, and in particular “Christo” as the crop is fondly called, is the main source of income to more than 75% of them. Any major pest or disease could be devastating not only to the livelihood of these families, but also to the country’s environment if its control results in the inappropriate use of pesticides.

An outbreak of Gummy Stem Blight occurred 11 years ago and the disease is now endemic, affecting 100 percent of farms. Could an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategy be adopted to control this fungal disease and to protect the livelihoods of farmers while protecting this pristine environment? Continue reading

Factsheet of the month: February 2016 – Rotation against purple seed stain in soya

20167800029At the beginning of January, a new research centre opened in Benin, which aims to boost productivity and incomes of smallholder farmers, and create job opportunities. Researchers based at the Green Innovation Center, which has been funded by the Federal German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), will develop tools for training and improve frameworks for collaboration and innovation with the ultimate goal of improving farmer livelihoods.

Initially, the centre will focus on pastoral agriculture, rice and soybeans, which are both important nutritional crops and key commodities in the area. Soybeans are particularly high in protein, a macronutrient which is still lacking in many diets in Subsaharan Africa. However, like all crops it is susceptible to numerous pests and diseases. This month’s factsheet of the month focuses on Purple Stain of soybean. This disease is caused by the fungus Cercospora kikuchii which causes seeds to turn purple and affects the price that they fetch on the market. Continue reading

Food Security: Where Environmental Health Meets Community Health

Guest blog by Julie Potyraj

Rice farmers in Cambodia
Rice farmers in Cambodia © CABI

If the health of a person depends on the status of their body – genetics, eating habits, age – then environmental health encompasses everything outside of the body. Improving air, soil and water quality, maintaining safe infrastructure, preventing exposure to hazardous substances, and promoting healthy homes and communities are all focuses of environmental health. The health of the environment is directly related to the health of individuals.

Environmental health considers elements like the nutritional quality of the soil for producing nourishing crops. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, “Healthy agricultural ecosystems are the foundation of food security.” However, rural areas in developing countries have suffered the effects of overpopulation, globalization, and climate change. The result is degraded land with low growing capacity. The quality of the soil, land, and environment affects the ability of farmers to grow food, to achieve food security, and to live healthy lives.

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