Farmer Field Day training in Malawi

Salima Rice Field Day 021On Tuesday, June 3rd, Land O’Lakes held another in a series of Farmer Field Day training events at one of their signature Answer Plot® sites, known locally as Yankho Plot™ sites in Malawi.  This farmer training event was held in Salima district, Malawi, on a plot planted with several varieties of rice.  On this day, farmers got to see Kilombero and Funwe rice plants right before harvest and to hear from Lead Farmers (who had been trained by Land O’Lakes staff) and Ministry of Agriculture field extension agents, all about the characteristics of these two new strains of these two rice varieties.  In addition, farmers were taken through rice trials done on site in collaboration with the GOM Ministry of Agriculture, the CCARDESA (Center for Coordination of Agricultural Research and Development for South Africa) and the World Bank.  Under this USDA-funded Food for progress project, Land O’Lakes uses the Yankho Plot™ sites as learning platforms where complementary information is given out about goat production, animal welfare, best animal feed practices and animal health.  In addition, Land O’Lakes nutrition staff work hand-in-hand with MOA Nutritionists and staff from the GOM Ministry of Health to share nutritional information and to conduct cooking demonstrations for all farmer field day participants.  At this special field day event, more than 150 USDA-funded Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) handbooks were distributed by Land O’Lakes to the female heads of community-based Nutrition Groups in order to assist with their community education efforts.  Land O’Lakes also invited many agricultural suppliers and service organizations in order to facilitate farmers networking with other sources of information, services and products.  For example, Demeter Agriculture Limited and CABI Plantwise had tables on which they displayed their helpful information and where staff were ready to talk about their services for helping farmers be better producers.  More than 350 male and female farmers from Salima District participated in the Farmer Field Day training event.

How global hunger distribution has changed over the last 25 years #datavis

The FAO has published its annual report on global hunger statistics. The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2015 declares that the number of hungry people in the world has dropped to 795 million – 216 million fewer than in 1990-92, despite a global population increase of 1.9 billion people. The full report can be accessed here: The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2015

The FAO report's chart showing the changing distribution of hunger in the world.

The FAO report’s graphic showing the changing distribution of hunger in the world, 1990-92 and 2014-16, using pie charts

The report has many statistics and charts that support the key messages. Many of the charts give a good visualisation of the numbers. However, I noticed a couple of pie charts that didn’t make it particularly easy to identify the differences between regions (image on the right).

Below is a slopegraph that depicts the change in the regional distribution of hunger between 1990-92 and 2014-16. This makes it a lot easier to compare the change, rather than the viewer having to compare between two pie charts.

Immediately, differences between regions start to jump out at you. Eastern and South-Eastern Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean have reduced hunger and achieved the Millennium Development Goal 1c target (“Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger”). Southern Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa now account for larger shares of global undernourishment, with numbers of undernourished having only slightly reduced in Southern Asia, and having increased in Sub-Saharan Africa, since 1990-92. All of the in-depth data and analyses can be found in the report: The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2015

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For better plant health in Africa: New strategy receives thumbs up

This week in Douala, Cameroon, the General Assembly of the African Union’s InterAfrican Phytosanitary Council (IAPSC) gave the thumbs up to IAPSC’s new strategic plan. IAPSC Director Dr Jean Gerard Mezui M’Ella thanked all the organisation’s partners who had assisted in the preparation of the plan, especially FAO’s Regional Office for Africa for funding the work. Titled “For Better Plant Health in Africa” [pdf], the plan identifies four key impact areas, and names a number of partners, including CABI, whose support will be important in its operationalization.

Following on from earlier discussions with IAPSC, CABI Africa’s Roger Day made a presentation on “A Plant Health Management System (PHIS) for IASPC”, corresponding to output 2.3 of the strategy. The ideas were well received by the General Assembly, which immediately appointed a small task force to develop a proposal as a basis for mobilising resources. The General Assembly also adopted a resolution saying it “Welcomes the cooperation between CABI and IASPC on Plant Health Information Systems, and urges them to develop further the ideas for putting in place an effective PHIS, and calls upon international partners to avail financial and technical resources for implementing such an important project”.

For further information contact IAPSC (au-cpi@au-appo.org) or CABI (Africa@cabi.org).

Working together for Plantwise in South and West Asia

Representatives for agricultural development from South and West Asia came together for a two-day conference in Bhurban, Pakistan in April to discuss country plans for Plantwise activities. Decision-makers from countries including India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and UK, met to share ideas and knowledge of their plant health systems. Read more of this post

Mocking up the Plantwise Knowledge Bank

This blog post is different to those you might usually read on the Plantwise blog. It is a little tour behind the scenes of the Plantwise Knowledge Bank, telling you about how we design features for our website and mobile. Let us know if you’re interested in hearing more about how we develop the Knowledge Bank, either in the comments below or via plantwise@cabi.org

The Plantwise Knowledge Bank team provides tools and content both online and offline to assist in the development of fully functioning plant health systems in developing countries. Over the past couple of years, much of our IT development has focussed on the Plantwise Online Management System (POMS), a secure website that countries can use to record administrative information relating to their plant health system, track progress towards annual targets, and store, view and analyse data from plant clinics.

We often use Balsamiq Mockups or myBalsamiq for creating mockups and wireframes. Licenses are free for not-for-profit organisations and other do-gooders. Read more of this post

Closing the gender gap for a food-secure future #AgGenderGap

Farmer with a bunch of AmaranthIn the video below, inspiring women share their views on closing the gender gap in farming under climate change. Read more of this post

New edition of weed biocontrol catalogue gives information on more than 2000 releases

Himalayan balsam infected with Puccinia rust

Himalayan balsam infected with Puccinia rust – a method of biocontrol being used in the UK. Photo credit: Rob Tanner © CABI

The fifth edition of Biological Control of Weeds: A World Catalogue of Agents and Their Target Weeds has been released after years of literature searches and the involvement of 125 weed biocontrol specialists.

The publication of this catalogue, available as a searchable online database and as a PDF book, was led by Mark Schwarzländer, University of Idaho CALS professor of entomology and biological control of weeds (and a former CABI researcher), and current CABI biological weed researcher, Hariet Hinz. Several prominent invasive species researchers co-edited the catalogue, including CABI’s Chief Scientist, Matthew Cock. Read more of this post

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