At the beginning of January, a new research centre opened in Benin, which aims to boost productivity and incomes of smallholder farmers, and create job opportunities. Researchers based at the Green Innovation Center, which has been funded by the Federal German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), will develop tools for training and improve frameworks for collaboration and innovation with the ultimate goal of improving farmer livelihoods.
Initially, the centre will focus on pastoral agriculture, rice and soybeans, which are both important nutritional crops and key commodities in the area. Soybeans are particularly high in protein, a macronutrient which is still lacking in many diets in Subsaharan Africa. However, like all crops it is susceptible to numerous pests and diseases. This month’s factsheet of the month focuses on Purple Stain of soybean. This disease is caused by the fungus Cercospora kikuchiiwhich causes seeds to turn purple and affects the price that they fetch on the market. Continue reading →
Excerpt from The New Times article, published 22 January 2016
It is a Monday evening and Dominique Nkundukozera, a farmer in Rusatira Sector in Huye District, is seated on a chair at Kinkanga market, with several cassava stems. He had brought the stems for examination by experts at a ‘Plant Health Clinic’ at the market.
“Before the Plant Clinic initiative, I was losing about 60 per cent of my produce each season. It was unbearable because I could not even recoup the investment on the farm; however, since I started getting advice on disease management, losses have declined to 20 per cent” Continue reading on The New Times website
Researchers at Queen’s University, Belfast, have developed a new method to control the parasitic nematodes that devastate banana crops and cause billions of dollars of crop losses annually. It is hoped that this new technology will reduce these losses, boosting the incomes of subsistence farmers in developing countries.
Nematodes are notoriously difficult to control, and the most effective management practices are preventative. Chemical control using nematicides is not recommended for the control of nematodes as these chemicals are often expensive and highly toxic to both humans and the environment. Continue reading →
Today, 15 October, is the International Day of Rural Women. The majority of rural women depend on natural resources and agriculture for their livelihoods. In developing countries, rural women represent approximately 43% of the agricultural labour force, and produce, process and prepare much of the food available, thereby giving them primary responsibility for food security.
Ensuring rural women’s access to reliable agricultural advice can make the difference between their crop succeeding or failing. CABI works alongside national extension services to deliver information to farmers in the field, through face to face plant clinics, voicemail/SMS messages, radio and magazines, through projects such as Plantwise (www.plantwise.org), Direct2Farm (www.cabi.org/direct2farm) and the Africa Soil Health Consortium (www.africasoilhealth.cabi.org).
The three women pictured above are tea pickers in Sri Lanka. Anyone who has visited tea growing countries will notice the large commercial tea farms, and women in the fields picking the tea leaves. Smallholders also contribute to tea production in Sri Lanka. Regulated by the Tea Smallholding Authority, they sell tea leaves from their 0.5-2 acre plots to the big tea companies. Tea blister blight is the main problem for tea farmers in Sri Lanka. In June, farmer Punchi brought a diseased tea leaf into the plant clinic in Nuwara Eliya. The plant doctor was able to diagnose blister blight and recommend how to manage the problem. Punchi left the clinic with a new hope that she could stop the disease from spreading and save the rest of her tea crop for selling to the tea companies.
Last week, 193 Member States of the United Nations adopted the new Sustainable Development Agenda to end poverty by 2030. This came at the beginning of a three-day Summit on Sustainable Development during which focussed on implanting changes that will see the Agenda achieve its ambitious aims. The Agenda, consisting of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), will help countries to develop their policies over the next 15 years.
A small-scale farmer in Chilanga District, Moses Banda has seriously taken up vegetable production. Mr Banda commends Government for its continued support in assisting farmers in addressing crop problems and how best to control them organically.
“My vegetables always had holes due to Sefasefa (Diamond Back Moth) and all I could think of was spraying but little did I know that the chemicals were harmful not only to the soils but humans and the entire ecosystem. Through this interaction with the Plant Doctors, I have learnt insects are being resistant to chemicals and that we should consider treating these insects organically through the use of crop rotation and Neem tree, which is soaked in water and sprayed to infected plants,” he explained.
Plantwise addresses the constant struggle that small-scale farmers go through to produce food by providing affordable, locally available solutions to plant health problems.
Texto preparado y editado por Martha Passador, Melanie Bateman y Javier Franco
Los agricultores de la región de Lambayeque recibieron el día 20 de Julio del 2015 un nuevo servicio para mejorar su producción agrícola. Una nueva clínica ubicada en el poblado de Batan Grande fue inaugurada, dónde los agricultores de esta región podrán acercarse a realizar sus consultas sobre plagas y enfermedades sin costo alguno. Batan Grande es un poblado menor perteneciente al distrito de Pitipo, Provincia de Ferreñafe, Región Lambayeque, dónde los agricultores tienes sus cultivos de arroz, maíz, cebolla, lenteja, papa y maracuyá.
La primera atención de esta nueva clínica, contó con la presencia del alcalde de Batan Grande, Luis Alberto Valladolid Terrones, que confirmó el apoyo de la alcaldía para este servicio. Antes del inicio de los servicios de clínica, la Ing. Patricia Villegas, Coordinadora de la Unidad de Extensión Agraria de la EEA-Vista Florida-Lambayeque, explicó a los agricultores cómo sería realizado el trabajo. Patricia les explicó que en esta clínica, el agricultor sólo necesita acercarse con una muestra de su planta atacada por alguna plaga o enfermedad y el “Doctor de Plantas” le brindará la asesoría necesaria para resolver su problema fitosanitario, además de brindarle las recomendaciones necesarias para prevenir futuros ataques de la plaga.