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.

 

 

Update: New Pest & Disease Records (26 Nov 14)

Virus infected yam © IITA (CC BY-NC)

Virus infected yam © IITA (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 first report of Erwinia carotovora causing bacterial pod rot of cocoa in India, a new combination of viruses causing tobacco bushy top disease in Ethiopia and research into yam virus X, a new potexvirus infecting yams (Dioscorea spp.) and evidence for the existence of at least three distinct potexviruses infecting yam. 

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Update: Plant Health News (19 Nov 14)

Ufra disease has broken out in the Ayeyarwady region of Myanmar. The partial emergence and distorted panicles are due to nematode infection.

Ufra disease has broken out in the Ayeyarwady region of Myanmar. The partial emergence and distorted panicles are due to nematode infection.

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including the insect-resistant maize that could increase yields and decrease pesticide use in Mexico, nematodes that are threatening rice in the Ayeyarwady Region of Myanmar and a study into how salt-loving plants could contribute to sustainable global food production.

Click on the link to read more of the latest plant health news!
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EU Evaluation finds Plantwise ‘highly relevant and timely’

Plant doctor, Hermínia Sieco, diagnosing a crop problem

Plant doctor, Hermínia Sieco, diagnosing a crop problem

“The Plantwise programme is a highly relevant and timely initiative considering the high percentage of crops lost to pest and disease problems, the impact these problems have on especially small farmer livelihoods, and the probability that in the future plant health problems will be enhanced by climate change and globalization.” 

Download and read the Final Report – Short version.

 

Update: New Pest & Disease Records (13 Nov 14)

Aonidiella aurantii have been newly recorded in olive trees in Brazil ©  M.A. van den Berg

Aonidiella aurantii have been newly recorded in olive trees in Brazil © M.A. van den Berg

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 identification of Tomato yellow leaf curl virus infecting common bean in Japan, Diaspididae scale insects in olive trees in Brazil and the first report of ‘Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum‘ on carrot in Africa.

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Science and technology at the heart of agricultural development

Reposted from devcooperation.org in celebration of World Science Day

Timor-Leste Farmer Carries Away Crops Destroyed by Heavy RainsBy Dr Dyno (J.D.H.) Keatinge, AIRCA Chair and Director General of AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center, and Dr Trevor Nicholls, AIRCA Steering Committee Member and CEO of CABI

Science may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of development but it often forms the foundation of solutions to tackle some of the world’s most critical issues, like ensuring people can grow enough food to eat. Today is World Science Day for Peace and Development, an opportunity to show the important contribution that science, knowledge-sharing and technology make to global development, especially to food and nutrition security.

Access to science-based information can make the difference between harvests that flourish or fail. While much agricultural information is readily accessible to farmers in the developed world, it remains out of reach for many others. Knowledge sharing and knowledge transfer are the keys to building the livelihoods of some of the world’s poorest smallholder farmers – people who grow food to eat or to sell on a small scale. Surprisingly, mobile technology is fast becoming one of the best ways to reach farmers with this information.

Read more at http://devcooperation.org

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