Update: Plant Health News (17 Dec 14)

Symptoms of cassava witches' broom include a proliferation of leaves at the top of the stem © CIAT (CC BY-NC-SA)

Symptoms of cassava witches’ broom include a proliferation of leaves at the top of the stem © CIAT (CC BY-NC-SA)

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including small-scale women farmers delivering pioneering efforts in food security in Tanzania, Witches’ Broom Disease affecting cassava in Cambodia and an initiative in Africa which is strengthening food systems while raising awareness of Ebola.

Click on the link to read more of the latest plant health news!
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Update: New Pest & Disease Records (10 Dec 14)

Bacterial leaf streak has been recorded in Uganda for the first time © T.W. Mew, IRRI (CC BY-NC)

Bacterial leaf streak has been recorded in Uganda for the first time © T.W. Mew, IRRI (CC BY-NC)

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 record of Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzicola causing bacterial leaf streak of rice in Uganda, the first record of Chickpea chlorotic dwarf virus infecting hot pepper in India and a study on the impact of global warming on insects. 

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One stop shop for information on internationally restricted chemicals

Contributed by Melanie Bateman, CABI Switzerland

mel blogTogether, the three conventions that govern chemicals and hazardous waste safety at the global level (the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions) have launched an online search tool for finding technical and scientific publications to support sound management of chemicals and waste: http://synergies.pops.int/Implementation/Publications/ScientificandTechnicalPublications/tabid/3790/language/en-US/Default.aspx

In particular, the member countries of these Conventions have singled out certain chemicals because of the harm that they can cause to human health and the environment. The online search tool makes it easy to access information on these chemicals, and it brings together information on management and risk reduction across the chemicals’ life cycles. With the click of a button, it is possible to access information on the production, trade, storage, use and safe disposal of these problematic pesticides and other chemicals.

Update: Plant Health News (03 Dec 14)

Bangladeshi farmers are making good profit from early variety potatoes © bengal*foam

Farmers are making good profit from early variety potatoes © bengal*foam

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including farmers in Bangladesh benefiting from early variety potatoes, water-saving technology introduced to rice farms in Vietnam and a model guava farm developed in India using traditional and modern methods.

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

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Factsheet of the month: December – Management of white stem borer of coffee

The white stem borer, also known as Seto Gavaro, is a major pest of coffee in Nepal. In fact, the government and industry hold the pest largely responsible for the drop in production between mid-2012 and mid-2013. Coffee is a major cash crop in Nepal so it is important that farmers do not lose yield to pests such as the white stem borer. Earlier this year, the government set up a new Coffee Research Centre in Baletaksar after a major outbreak of the white stem borer.

To find out more about white stem borers on coffee and their management, read this month’s Plantwise Factsheet for Farmers which was written by staff from the Pesticide Registration and Management Division, Goverment of Nepal.

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Agri-Drinks next week Dec 3rd in London: Join us

Agri Drinks Dec 3A monthly meet-up to bring together all those involved in communications, media and PR focused on food security, nutritional and agricultural issues. Join the facebook group to stay in the loop on upcoming events!

Facebook group: http://on.fb.me/1w2upQ3

Giving thanks and lending support for bountiful harvests and good health

Contributed by Melanie Bateman

ThanksgivingToday, families in the US gather around the table for Thanksgiving, a national holiday to celebrate the harvest and to give thanks in general for all of life’s bounties. The United States is not unique in this custom; many other countries celebrate harvests and mark particular days as occasions for reflection and giving thanks. For example, Canada’s Thanksgiving took place in October, and Liberia celebrated Thanksgiving just a few weeks ago on Thursday, the 6th of November.

Thanksgiving also serves as a time to reflect on the challenges faced by those who are not as fortunate, particularly those in places where food security is at risk. In her statements to mark Liberia’s Thanksgiving holiday, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf commented on the havoc wreaked by Ebola on her country and she further stated that “it is befitting that a day be set aside for the Nation and its people to give thanks … for the preservation of the lives of its people to overcome the spreading of the pathogenic disease”.

Liberia’s neighbours Sierra Leone and Guinea also continue to struggle against Ebola. According to a recent article, Sierra Leone will soon displace Liberia as the country worst hit by the outbreak. Many parts of the country are under quarantine, restricting the movement of goods and people. These travel restrictions have profound implications – getting food to people in quarantine is no small task. For small-scale farmers and small-scale miners in particular, Ebola’s impact has been “catastrophic”. While Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security and the affiliated plant doctors continue to try to persevere with activities to support farmers, many challenges stand in their way. Even so, activities are still going forward as possible since the national team has passes to visit plant clinics and they have made distributions of items to plant doctors. Thankfully, there have been no reports of any problems with a plant doctor.

Reflection on challenges such as Ebola can in turn serve as a call to action. The people of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia are working to defeat Ebola, but it is essential that the international community joins them in this fight. To learn more about the efforts of international organisations and to lend your own support, visit the webpages of organisations like the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Doctors without Borders (Medecins sans Frontiers) and the International Medical Corps, among others.

 

 

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