Update: Plant Health News (26 Aug 15)

With the help of sustainable irrigation, crops in Honduras are able to thrive despite the drought © CIAT (CC BY-NC-SA)

Sustainable water use helps Honduran crops to thrive despite the drought ©CIAT(CC BY-NC-SA)

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including the risk of invasive pests spreading across Africa as a consequence of irrigation, research into genetic markers for disease resistance and salt tolerance of rice in Vietnam, and farmers in Honduras adopting sustainable methods to deal with increasing drought.

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Update: New Pest & Disease Records (19 Aug 15)

finger millet, an underutilised crop which produces essential amino acids, has been found to be a host of Lethal Necrosis disease © Bioversity International\ Y. Wachira

Finger millet which contains methionine, an essential amino acid that millions of people lack, has been found to be a host of Lethal Necrosis Disease © Bioversity International\ Y. Wachira

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 the first report of Beet western yellow virus on pepper in China, the first report of Botrytis cinerea causing blossom blight on Japanese plums in Chile and the first report of lethal necrosis disease associated with co-infection of finger millet with Maize chlorotic mottle virus and Sugarcane mosaic virus in Kenya.

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Update: Plant Health News (12 Aug 15)

A forthcoming article in the International Journal of Climate Change is expected to show that climate change will cause a reduction in maize yields in SSA. Photo: Neil Palmer (CIAT).

A forthcoming article in the International Journal of Climate Change will outline the effect that climate change will have on maize yields in Sub-Saharan Africa. Photo: Neil Palmer (CIAT).

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including the potential impact of climate change on food security in Sub-Saharan Africa, the use of biocontrol to manage fruit fly in Kenya and the impact of Fusarium on banana production in Honduras.

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Plantwise publishes its 1000th Factsheet for Farmers!

The 100th Plantwise Factsheet for Farmers, written by a Senior Agricultural Officer from Zambia's Department of Agriculture

The 1000th Plantwise Factsheet for Farmers, written by a Senior Agricultural Officer from Zambia’s Department of Agriculture

Today, we are celebrating the publication of the 1000th Plantwise Factsheet for Farmers (PFFFs) on the Plantwise knowledge bank!

PFFFs are written by trained partners in Plantwise countries around the world. Each factsheet provides information on how to recognise the problem, some background details about the problem and offers effective management advice to enable the problem to be controlled. After peer review, the factsheets go through technical validation to ensure that the factsheets offer management advice that is scientifically sound, and safe and practical for a farmer to implement. Once finalised, PFFFs are distributed to plant clinics where they are used to support extension workers in providing farmers with the best possible crop protection recommendations. This makes PFFFs a key resource in preventing crop losses to pests and diseases, boosting food security and improving livelihoods. 

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Update: New Pest & Disease Records (05 Aug 15)

Cocoa pods at various stages of frosty pod infection © CABI

Cocoa pods at various stages of frosty pod infection ©CABI

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 the first report of frosty pod rot on cacao in Bolivia, the first report of Sclerotinia rot caused by Sclerotinia sclerotiorum on lentil in Bangladesh and the first reports of Lettuce big-vein associated virus and Mirafiori lettuce big-vein virus infecting lettuce in Saudi Arabia.

 

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Factsheet of the month: August 2015 – Sprays against Tuta tomato leaf miner

20157800364 In recent years, Tuta absoluta has gained a reputation for being one of the most destructive pests of tomato and can cause losses of 80-100% in the field if left unmanaged. Tanzania are feeling the effects of the yield reduction with a 375% increase in the cost of tomatoes in the past 6 months. A carton of tomatoes that cost Sh16,000 ($9.4) in January 2015 now costs around Sh60,000 ($35.3). Vivian Munisi, a trader at Tanzania’s Arusha central market, is just one of the people who are expecting the price of tomatoes to increase further in the coming months as a result of the shortfall caused by T. absoluta. 

The larvae of T. absoluta, which is also known as the tomato leaf miner, bores into leaves and fruit and feeds below their surface, forming mines as they move along the plant. The network of mines produced as a result of this feeding can also serve as an entry point for disease, which can lead to further damage. Although tomato is the main host for the tomato leaf miner, it can also affect potato and other Solanaceae plants. The pest originated in Latin America but has spread to Europe, Asia and more recently, Africa where it has caught smallholder farmers unprepared.

There are a number of management options that will help to reduce the damage caused by the tomato leaf miner.  These include disposing of infested fruit, setting pheromone traps and applying sprays of either biocontrol or a chemical pesticide. To find out more about tomato leaf miners and how these sprays can contribute to their control, read this month’s Plantwise Factsheet for Farmers which was written by an Agriculture Officer from the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives (MAFSC) in Tanzania. Tomato production in Tanzania has been badly affected by the tomato leaf miner. Read more of this post

Update: Plant Health News (29 Jul 15)

Symptoms of bacterial blight on young pomegranate © Dr. V. I. Benagi

Symptoms of bacterial blight on young pomegranate © Dr. V. I. Benagi

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including bacterial blight affecting pomegranate quality in India, women in Kenya growing crops in sacks to feed their families and a pledge from China’s Ministry of Agriculture to reduce fertiliser and pesticide use and improve water conservation.

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