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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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

Update: New Pest & Disease Records (9 Jul 14)

orange rust

Orange rust (Puccinia kuehnii), which has been found for the first time on sugarcane in Ecuador. Copyright: Robert C. Magarey

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 new rusts on sugarcane in Ecuador and Southern Africa, outbreaks of the whitefly Aleurothrixus aepim in Brazil, and the first report of the fungus Alternaria arborescens causing leaf spot on rice in Pakistan.

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Maize lethal necrosis has spread to Rwanda

Maize lethal necrosis disease symptoms

Maize lethal necrosis disease symptoms. Credit: Rob Reeder © CABI

Report by Abigail Rumsey, Beatrice Uwumukiza and Bellancila Uzayisenga.

In the past two years, we have reported on the presence of the maize lethal necrosis (MLN) disease in East African countries including Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. The disease is also present in South Sudan. The most recent report has been of its spread to the Northern Province of Rwanda. Read more of this post

Plantwise in Suriname

Blog post by Shamela Rambadan and Abigail Rumsey

In May last year, discussions began with the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Husbandry and Fisheries (LVV) to start up a Plantwise programme in Suriname. By December, 22 plant doctors had completed Module 1 of the Plantwise ‘How to Become a Plant Doctor’ training course. In January 2014, a Partnership Statement and Partnership Agreement was signed by the Permanent Secretary Mr Gerrit Breinburg. Read more of this post

[Video] Invest in prevention: save money, save lives, save livelihoods

This video from the Food Chain Crisis Management Framework of FAO shows how investing in prevention of pests and diseases before they are present in a region can save money and livelihoods in the long term. Read more of this post

In Uganda, coffee faces many uphill battles

Originally posted on Agriculture for Impact:

By Lee Pearson

Many of us start every day with a cup (or three), so it is not too surprising that coffee is the largest global export after oil. As the top agricultural export in Uganda—generating roughly ¼ of all foreign exchange—and with some 3.5 million families reliant in some way on the industry, coffee is king.

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                                                Figure 1: Collage of surveyed coffee growers 

Dr. Neil McRoberts and I travelled to Uganda to conduct a survey along with Ignitius Bwoogi, the director of the Rural Agency for Sustainable Development. We spoke to coffee growers in the districts of Buikwe, Mukono, and Kumuli this past December/January sponsored by a grant from UC-Davis. We asked farmers how they perceive and respond to the threat…

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Family Farming and Women in Agriculture

Abigail Rumsey:

A blogger from Trinidad writes about his visit to a family farm where they grow purple sweet peppers.
To read about Plantwise clinics in Trinidad & Tobago, visit this page: http://www.plantwise.org/default.aspx?site=234&page=5022
To get information on the management of crop pests and problems in T&T, visit this page: http://www.plantwise.org/knowledgebank/CountryHome/TT/

Originally posted on LukesmithT.v:

Today’s post highlights family farming and women in agriculture in Trinidad.I recently visited a humble,hardworking,passionate female farmer named Sheliza Ramlogan.She is 54 years of age with over 30 years experience in the agricultural sector. She currently has 3 acres land of which 2 ½ acres are under sweet pepper production in Arranguez ,Trinidad. Mrs. Ramlogan has had much success as a female farmer achieving the County Prize for ‘Farmer of the Year’ in Agriculture for three consecutive years. She received recognition from the University of West Indies where she was awarded a faculty prize from the Faculty of Food and Agriculture. Added to her success she also won the small scale farming Prize.

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Aside from her current production of sweet peppers, Mrs. Ramlogan has produced a variety of crops in the past including tomatoes,aloes,bodhi, cucumbers and string beans. Mrs. Ramlogan possesses experience and knowledge of how to manage weeds, insects…

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Green Invasion: Destroying Livelihoods in Africa [Video]

Abigail Rumsey:

Invasive weed species in East Africa are causing losses to crop yields and severely impacting livestock. This video from the CABI Invasives team gives the story from the communities whose livelihoods are directly impacted by invasive plants.

Originally posted on CABI Invasives Blog:

CABI, together with Tmax Productions, have produced a video called the ‘Green Invasion – Destroying Livelihoods in Africa.” The short film (approx. 7mins long) details how invasive weeds are impacting on the lives of rural communities in East Africa.

Although a large number of non-native species have become invasive in the region, this film focusses on four of the most problematic species namely Chromolaena odorata (Devil weed), Parthenium hysterophorus (famine weed), Prosopis juliflora (Mathenge) and Opuntia stricta (erect prickly pear). The excellent footage shows the extent of  weed infestations with accounts from community members on how these invasive plants are destroying the natural resource base on which they depend. It is clear that invasive weeds are destroying traditions, cultures and a way of life for millions of people on the continent.

However, all is not lost. The film notes that if effective management programmes are implemented, including biological control, we can make a difference to many people’s lives.

Although…

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