How Data from Plant Clinics is reducing crop losses in the developing world

Excerpt from the ODBMS blog, published 10 February 2016

When you feel unwell, you visit your doctor in his or her clinic, your symptoms are discussed and a diagnosis is made. Often you will be given a prescription, or simply advised on lifestyle changes to improve your health and well-being. If you are lucky, this service will be provided to you free-of-charge or at low cost because you live in a country with a developed human health system and an integrated medical service.

For smallholder farmers in the developing world, a new service is spreading that provides exactly the same service for their diseased or damaged crops – it’s called Plantwise, and it’s a global initiative led by CABI. Plantwise currently operates in 34 countries in the developing world, through a network of over 1500 Plant clinics, operated by trained Plant Doctors. These clinics are set up in markets and other public places where farmers tend to congregate, so that it’s easy for farmers to get the advice they need.

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How plant clinics helped a paddy farmer in Tamil Nadu, India

Guest blog contributed by MSSRF

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Plant clinic in Chennai; photo courtesy of MSSRF

Mr Natarajan and his family farm 5 acres of irrigated land in Neduvasal village in Pudukkottai District, Tamil Nadu. Like his father before him, he cultivates paddy, ground nut and pulses during the Kharif, Rabi and summer seasons. He has been growing BPT 5204 paddy, a super fine Ponni variety during the Samba season (October-January).  This particular variety fetches a good price at market but is prone to various pests and diseases. During the Rabi season of 2014 there was outbreak of stem borer, causing visible symptoms. The pesticides recommended by the local agro-input dealer were ineffective and expensive. Mr Natarajan was worried whether he would get a profitable yield.

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Innovative Digital Applications for Sustainable Development – Eighth GCRA International Conference at University of Agricultural Sciences, Bengaluru

8th GCRA

It is evident that the development in the field of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and digital applications plays pivotal role in present knowledge based economies. Recently, I attended an ICT focussed international conference with my colleague from D2F in Bengaluru which was organised by UAS Bengaluru and GCRA, Australia from 5th-7th January, 2016 on “Innovative Digital Applications for Sustainable Development” at UAS Bengaluru. University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS), Bengaluru has played a major role in developing technologies and extension methodologies and for the sustainable development of the rural communities in Karnataka. The Global Communication Research Association (GCRA), Australia has been providing an academic forum for the past 14 years and also encouraging development of research in underrepresented geographical areas of the globe by focusing their areas of interest.

The conference aimed to facilitate effective dialogue among the researchers, communication specialists, extension professionals and young students in these disciplines for consolidating the strategies to achieve sustainable development through digital applications.

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Update: New Pest & Disease Records (10 Feb 16)

A new host has been found for bean blight in Iran, which causes necrotic lesions surrounded by a yellow halo.
A new host has been found for bean blight in Iran, which causes necrotic lesions surrounded by a yellow halo (P. H. Goodwin) 

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 Lima bean, a new host of Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. phaseoli in Iran, the characterization of Phytophthora amaranthi sp. nov. from amaranth in Taiwan. and new records of Lasiodiplodia theobromae in Tetrapleura tetraptera seeds from Nigeria and coconut fruit from Mexico.

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Agricultural innovation framework agreed in Rwanda

Contributed by Rachel Winks, CABI.

Agricultural innovation framework agreed in Rwanda

The partner organisations of the Tropical Agriculture Platform (TAP) met in Kigali, Rwanda, on 19-21 January to agree a new concept for agricultural innovation: the common framework on capacity development for agricultural innovation systems. With growing global population and increased food demand, agricultural innovation can help improve food security, increase farmers’ incomes and protect use of natural resources. CABI has been a key contributor to the agricultural innovation framework, bringing valuable experience of its Plantwise food security programme to the platform.

The common framework includes concepts, methodologies, principles and tools to help people better understand and harness agricultural innovation. It emphasizes interconnectedness and the importance of bringing individuals and organisations together to co-create new knowledge.  Continue reading

Update: Plant Health News (03 Feb 16)

Huanglongbing can be fatal for citrus trees (Source:USDA)
Huanglongbing can be fatal for citrus trees (Source:USDA)

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including the new parasitic wasp that can detect aphid infestation, the effect that El Niño will have on avocado in Peru and the threat of Huanglongbing (HLB) on agriculture in Colombia.

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

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Feasibility of adopting an IPM approach for sustainable Christophene production in the Northern Range of Trinidad

plantwiseTT_14Contributed by Aldo Hanel, CABI. 

Brasso Secco is a pristine environment located in the Northern Range of Trinidad in close proximity to the world famous Asa Wright Nature Centre. This farming community, among others, is nestled deep in the bosom of the of the Northern Range where approximately 300 family farms depend on Christophene production for their economic survival and well-being. Agriculture, and in particular “Christo” as the crop is fondly called, is the main source of income to more than 75% of them. Any major pest or disease could be devastating not only to the livelihood of these families, but also to the country’s environment if its control results in the inappropriate use of pesticides.

An outbreak of Gummy Stem Blight occurred 11 years ago and the disease is now endemic, affecting 100 percent of farms. Could an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategy be adopted to control this fungal disease and to protect the livelihoods of farmers while protecting this pristine environment? Continue reading