International Day of Rural Women

Tea pickers in Sri Lanka. (Photo: Katherine Cameron, CABI)

Tea pickers in Sri Lanka. (Photo: Katherine Cameron, CABI)

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 (, Direct2Farm ( and the Africa Soil Health Consortium (

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.

You can find out more about blister blight by reading the Plantwise technical factsheet on tea blister blight.
Find out more about the International Day of Rural Women at

Gender equality in Agriculture: Twenty years since the 1995 Beijing declaration, are we there yet?

Women doing work on crops

Women doing work on crops. Photo: Curt Carnemark / World Bank (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

On this day in 1995, 17,000 participants from around the world gathered for the Fourth World Conference on Women in which 189 countries around the world signed The Beijing Declaration – a UN agenda for change concerning the equality of men and women.  Described as a “milestone for the world’s women”, the resolution set a blueprint of global standards to empower women across all aspects of their lives from maternal health and reproductive rights to increased participation in public life and politics.  With women being responsible for producing over half of the world’s supply of food, improving economic inequalities in agriculture was a priority on the agenda which begs me to ask the question – are we there yet? Read more of this post

World Food Prize 2015

Fazle Hasan Abed. Photo: BRAC, via Wikimedia Commons

Sir Fazle Hasan Abed. Photo: BRAC, via Wikimedia Commons

Earlier this month, Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, founder and chairman of BRAC, was awarded the 2015 World Food Prize, which honours contributions to the improvement of food supply. BRAC (formally Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee) is the largest development organisation in the world and has been working to enhance food security and alleviate poverty since it was founded by Sir Fazle in 1972. For over 40 years, BRAC, which operates in 11 countries around the world, has implemented a range of development programmes that have benefited nearly 150 million people. Sir Fazle (pictured, left) has applauded these people as “the real heroes” in the BRAC story.  Read more of this post

Increased carbon dioxide levels in air restrict plants’ ability to absorb nutrients

1.Pollution over fields- could now be a threat to plant nutrition    (Photo by Ken Douglas )

1. Pollution over fields- could now be a threat to plant nutrition (Photo by Ken Douglas)

Contributed by Fiona Bunn

A recent study from the University of Gothenburg has shown that plants that are grown in air with a higher percentage of carbon dioxide (CO2) have reduced levels of nitrogen in their tissue, causing increased nitrogen deficiency and reduced growth. The study was conducted across four continents in large scale projects, and the plants showed the negative effects in all three major types of ecosystem: crops, grasslands and forests. The effects were even shown when fertiliser was applied, proving that CO2 restricts the plants’ ability to absorb the necessary nutrients, not the levels in the soil.  Read more of this post

Perú: Una visita al campo con los Doctores de Plantas en Huamanga-Ayacucho

Texto escribido por los doctores de planta de la Estación Experimental Agraria Canaán (INIA): Victoriano Eduardo Núñez Cuba, Melancio Huamani García y Aníbal N. Huarancca, y editando por Léna Durocher-Granger (CABI-UK).

English summary follows

Melancio explica a la agricultora sobre el diagnóstico y el control de la enfermedad del Peronospora farinosa (Fr) “Mildiu” que ataca al cultivo de Quinua.

Melancio explica a la agricultora sobre el diagnóstico y el control de la enfermedad del Peronospora farinosa (Fr) “Mildiu” que ataca al cultivo de Quinua.

El Instituto Nacional de Innovación Agraria (INIA), organismo público adscrito al Ministerio de Agricultura y Riego, a través de la Estación Experimental Agraria (EEA) Canaán-Ayacucho, brinda Asistencia Técnica de Capacitación con el Modulo de Clínica de Plantas a los pequeños productores agrarios de la Comunidad “La Colpa”, del distrito de ACOS VINCHOS y de la Comunidad “Moya”, del distrito de QUINUA, provincia de Huamanga – Ayacucho.

Victoriano Eduardo Núñez Cuba, Melancio Huamani García y Aníbal N. Huarancca son tres Doctores de Plantas de la EEA Canaán. Parte del trabajo de un Doctor de Planta es de visitar a los pequeños agricultores y agricultoras en su finca para proporcionar información sobre el diagnóstico, agente causal, tratamiento, control, prevención e importancia económica del ataque de plagas y enfermedades en los cultivos alimenticios, además de brindar Charla Técnica de Capacitación a los pequeños productores agrarios. El objetivo es brindarlos asistencia técnica oportunamente para el incremento de la producción y el mejoramiento del ingreso económico familiar.

Victoriano, Melancio y Aníbal tienen roles fundamentales en Plantwise que impactan directamente a la seguridad alimentaria y nutricional de los pequeños agricultores y sus familias, además de contribuir a mejorar el sistema fitosanitario del país.

Sigamos Victoriano, Melancio y Aníbal a través de unas de las actividades a cargo de la Unidad de Extensión Agraria (UEA) de la EEA Canaán (INIA), desarrolladas junto a los Coordinadores Nacionales Luis Torres (EEA-La Molina) y Luis Navarrete (EEA-La Molina) y al Programa Plantwise.

Victoriano Eduardo Núñez Cuba, Melancio Huamani García and Aníbal N. Huarancca are three Plant Doctors from the Experimental Station Canaán (INIA) in Ayacucho-Peru. Part of a Plant Doctor’s work is to visit farmers to provide information related to the diagnosis, prevention, control, management and economic importance of the pests and diseases affecting various crops in the region. The Plant Doctors also provide technical training to farmers. The objective is to support smallholder farmers by providing appropriate technical assistance aimed at increasing crop yields and improving family income. By improving the plant health system in their country, Victoriano, Melancio and Aníbal play a key role in Plantwise that directly impacts food security and nutrition of smallholder farmers and their families. Let’s follow them for a day!



Old friends and new faces at CPM10

Blog  Commission on Phytosanitary Measurespost by Roger Day, Deputy Regional Director (Development), CABI Africa.
As delegates gathered for the opening of the 10th session of the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures (CPM) at FAO in Rome, it was clear from the greetings and smiles, not to mention hugs and kisses, that many of them know each other well already. That’s probably a good thing.  The International Plant Protection Convention aims to secure “common and effective action to prevent the spread and introduction of pests of plants and plant products”, and good collaboration is based on mutual trust and understanding. Read more of this post

Infographic: Plantwise progress in Kenya so far

PW Kenya Infographic


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,007 other followers