Pesticides-L mailing list: creating a global conversation on pesticides issues

Written by Melanie Bateman, Integrated Crop Management Adviser, CABI Switzerland

plant clinicAs has been mentioned before in this blog, there are a staggering number of chemicals in the world – estimates go as high as 2 million different preparations for sale. This is a lot for regulators in any given country to assess and monitor for safety concerns, especially given the nature of many of the problems associated with pesticides. While symptoms of acute pesticide poisoning become apparent relatively rapidly after exposure, chronic effects such as cancer can be caused by repeated, low level exposure over extended periods of time. For these chronic problems, it is much more difficult to uncover the connections between the chemical and the disease.

International agreements such as the Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions provide formal channels for information sharing on these issues between countries.

At a recent workshop on pest management and pesticide risk reduction, Mr David Kamangira, Senior Deputy Director in Zambia’s Department of Agricultural Research Services, offered up a suggestion for a grassroots approach for sharing information and staying informed about pesticides. He shared his experience with the “Pesticides-L” mailing list, an online forum for discussions regarding pesticides management issues. Moderated by Dr Andrea Rother of the School of Public Health and Family Medicine of the University of Cape Town, Pesticides-L is open to anyone with an interest in issues related to pesticides. Posts to the list cover topics ranging from research results on human health and environmental effects to policy debates to meeting announcements. The Pesticide-L mailing list is a rich information source and a valuable tool for linking together a global community of stakeholders such as researchers, NGO’s, chemical companies, policy makers, affected individuals, unions, farmers, community groups and government representatives. To subscribe to this list, email ‘pesticides-l-owner@lists.uct.ac.za’.

Behind the scenes of Plantwise plant clinics in Uganda

PhD student, Andrew Tock, of the Warwick Crop Centre, has spent three months monitoring Plantwise plant clinic success in Uganda as part of a BBSRC-funded Doctoral Training Partnership. During this time, he kept a research diary (video above), describing his experiences in Uganda and the day-to-day work of plant doctors in the field.

To read an interview with Andrew, visit the BBSRC website: http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/news/food-security/2014/141029-f-plant-clinics-in-uganda.aspx

Update: New Pest & Disease Records (29 Oct 14)

Turmeric roots

The root knot nematode, Meloidogyne incognita, has been found on turmeric in Pakistan © Melanie Cook (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license)

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 new hosts (turmeric and black pepper) of root knot nematode in Pakistan,  two fungal leaf spot pathogens on Indonesian cinnamon, and a species of phytoplasma not previously found on apple trees in China.

Click on the links to view the abstracts:

To view all search results for new geographic, host and species records for plant pests and diseases, click here

If there’s another new record you’d like to highlight, please post a comment.

Local refrigeration: Key to reducing #Postharvest losses in Rural areas

Originally posted on Kalu Samuel's Blog:

l did bump into this when l visited Eco-Resource centre in Nairobi, Kenya. l got fascinated by the simplicity and its functionality. The simple piece of innovation so ideal for the preservation of vegetables and fruits in areas especially rural where there is no access to electricity.

View original 189 more words

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

amaranth

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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