Update: Plant Health News (22 Oct 14)

Community seed banks in Ethiopia are preserving seeds of local crops to strengthen food security © Bioversity International/C.Fadda

Community seed banks in Ethiopia are preserving seeds of local crops to strengthen food security © Bioversity International/C.Fadda

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including a study on the use of predator beetles as biocontrol for the destructive coffee berry borer, a look at the role of Ethiopia’s seedbanks in food security and turning barren land into banana orchards in Bangladesh.

Click on the link to read more of the latest plant health news!
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Next week: Join us for Agricultural Communications drinks in London

Agri Comms Drinks LondonNow launching a monthly series of meet-ups in London to bring together cross-sectoral communications professionals interested in issues related to agriculture, food security and nutrition. All those working for non-profits, government institutions, private corporations, start-ups, and academia are welcome. Read news from the recent Global Hunger Index launch and find out more details about this upcoming event. Questions or to RSVP, please contact j.dennis@cabi.org.

Event details:

When? Thursday, October 30th, 6:30pm

Where? The Marylebone, 93 Marylebone High Street, London W1U 4RE

Who? All professionals working in communications for NGOS, public, private sector and academia with a focus on agriculture, food security, nutrition and development issues.

Seeking help for her amaranthus crop in India, Sarathambal finds a local plant clinic

A Plantwise experience from Tamil Nadu. Writing and reporting by Kavya Dashora, CABI India


Amaranthus Photo: plantspeople.org/edible

50-year-old Sarathambal lives with her husband and son, in Pooncheri village near Iluppakkorai, in Thanjavur district. The family engages in diversified cropping systems in their 2 acre land, to expand the source of subsistence and income, to increase yield, and to minimize pests and diseases commonly found in monoculture.

Sarathambal shoulders the responsibility of cultivating amaranthus, a traditional vegetable for Indian cooking, in different plots of 30 cents, earning a regular income of Rs.3000 (£30) per month.

The family frequently encountered pest and disease problems in their crops. It was par for the course that farmers sought and implemented ad hoc suggestions from peer farmers, suppliers, and fertilizer shops. In this manner, Sarathambal utilized blanket recommendations of chemicals for all crops without scientific diagnosis of the disease.

As a result, over a period of 30 days, the amaranthus crop yield reduced in quantity and quality, fetching lower prices in the market. Sarathambal was anxious as a substantial portion of their family income was depleted due to deteriorating plant health.

Fortunately, M S Swaminathan Research Foundation runs plant clinics, in collaboration with the CABI-led Plantwise programme, to provide precise diagnostic, and advisory services for plant diseases, helping create durable plant health systems for smallholder farmers, in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, and Maharashtra.

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Update: New Pest & Disease Records (15 Oct 14)

Diaporthe citri, seen here affecting Tangelo, has been identified on lemon in India © Scot Nelson (CC BY-SA)

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 a pathogen that’s causing fruit rot of tomato, orange, and apple in Pakistan, the first report of Phomopsis citri associated with dieback of lemon in India and the  first report of the root-knot nematode Meloidogyne hapla parasitizing roses in Ethiopia. 

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Plantwise Data Management Training in Mozambique

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Since its launch early this year, the partnership between the Plantwise Initiative and the Ministry of Agriculture in Mozambique (MINAG) continues to grow. The National Directorate of Agrarian Services (DNSA) that falls under MINAG is the Plantwise implementing institution in Mozambique. There are currently 5 plant clinics established and running in Maputo and Manica provinces. Read more of this post

Update: Plant Health News (08 Oct 14)

Purdue Improved Cowpea Storage (PICS) bags keep grain pest free © IITA (CC BY-NC)

Purdue Improved Cowpea Storage (PICS) bags keep grain free of pests © IITA (CC BY-NC)

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including the promotion of grain storage bags to prevent pest damage in Kenya, the fight against herbicide-resistant weeds and managing Fusarium wilt disease in watermelon.

Click on the link to read more of the latest plant health news!
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Invasive myrtle rust impacts discussed at international forestry congress

Abigail Rumsey:

The rust species, Puccinia psidii, affects several crop trees including guava and allspice.

Originally posted on CABI Invasives Blog:

CABI has recently published a comprehensive review and update of its ISC datasheet on the globally important pathogen Puccinia psidii, commonly known as myrtle rust or guava rust. This problematic fungus is of worldwide importance and is capable of infecting a wide range of hosts. To date it has over 440 host species; affecting many plants in the Myrtaceae family, including threatened and endangered species (see IUCN Red List of Threatened Species). Severe impacts have been recorded in amenity plantings, commercial plantations and the native environment.

Once established in a new country myrtle rust can spread quickly and this has been the case in many countries including Jamaica, Hawaii, Australia and New Caledonia. Its successful global and local dispersal through urediniospores and human-aided movement of diseased plants, combined with its massive host range make myrtle rust an effective and devastating invasive. It was first identified as an invasive…

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