Factsheet of the month: July 2015 – Prevention of powdery mildew on mango using cultural methods

20157800331The use of pesticides in Ethiopia has been increasing in recent years but it is thought that due to a lack of training and awareness, these chemicals are often being used unsafely and excessively. Many groups in Ethiopia are therefore raising awareness of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in which control methods are selected based on their economic justification and level of risk to the environment. Cultural control methods do not involve the use of chemical pesticides and so are often less expensive to implement and safer for the environment.

This month’s Factsheet of the Month, ‘Prevention of powdery mildew on mango using cultural methods‘ provides information about using cultural control methods to reduce the incidence of powdery mildew in mango. This factsheet was written by extension experts in Ethiopia last year.

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Factsheet of the month: June 2015 – Conservation of natural enemies

20147801387Friday May 22nd was 2015’s International Day for Biological Diversity.  This year’s theme was ‘Biodiversity for Sustainable Development’ which reflected the importance of biodiversity in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Biodiversity is key in agriculture and it both promotes and is promoted by sustainable methods. Farmers rely on a range of different species for the success of their crops. This may include barrier or repellent crops to prevent pests from attacking their crop, nitrogen fixing bacteria in the soil for nutrient availability, pollinators to transfer pollen between plants, and natural enemies to keep pest populations under control without the need for chemicals.

This month’s Factsheet of the Month, ‘Conservation of natural enemies of pests of vegetables‘ provides information about the role that natural enemies can play and the importance of maintaining populations of natural enemies in the field. This factsheet was written by staff from the Plant Protection Service in Sri Lanka. It is also available in Tamil and Sinhala.

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Mango production in Bangladesh

20157800221According to the Daily Star, mango production in Rajshahi and Chapainawabganj districts in Bangladesh might be hampered by unfavourable weather this year. The farmers are worried as large numbers of fruits, up to 70%, fell from the trees before ripening. Following the attack by leaf hoppers earlier in March, mango trees in that area are now affected by an undiagnosed disease which has symptoms described as mould on leaves. This unconfirmed disease could potentially be caused by powdery mildew (Oidium mangiferae), but reliable pathogen diagnosis is needed before advising management strategies.

For advice on how to prevent and manage mango pests and diseases, such as powdery mildew, anthracnose and mango seed weevil, review the Green Lists hosted on the Plantwise knowledge bank providing cultural and biological management options.

The Green Lists are produced by Plantwise for use by plant doctors and extension workers who provide advice to farmers. To see more about the content held on the Plantwise knowledge bank, please click here.

Factsheet of the month: May 2015 – Tolerant bean varieties against stem maggots

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The saying “prevention is better than cure” is no more true than when applied to agriculture. Taking precautionary measures against common pests can increase farmer income by investing a small amount of money into minimising crop losses, ensuring a high yield. Preventative measures can include correct land preparation, physical barriers, field hygiene and cultivation of tolerant varieties. Unlike resistant varieties, tolerant varieties can host the pest, but are not seriously affected by it. Different varieties have different levels of tolerance to different pests. It is therefore important for farmers to select a variety with tolerance to the pests known to occur in their area. This month’s Factsheet of the month ‘Tolerant bean varieties against stem maggots’ provides information about the use of bean varieties tolerant to stem maggots, also known as bean flies. Stem maggots are an important pest of legumes found mainly in Asia and East Africa. They feed by tunnelling into leaves, stems and roots, weakening the plant and increasing the chance of death in younger plants.

 This factsheet was written last year by staff from the Zambia Agriculture Research Institute (ZARI).

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Mocking up the Plantwise Knowledge Bank

This blog post is different to those you might usually read on the Plantwise blog. It is a little tour behind the scenes of the Plantwise Knowledge Bank, telling you about how we design features for our website and mobile. Let us know if you’re interested in hearing more about how we develop the Knowledge Bank, either in the comments below or via plantwise@cabi.org

The Plantwise Knowledge Bank team provides tools and content both online and offline to assist in the development of fully functioning plant health systems in developing countries. Over the past couple of years, much of our IT development has focussed on the Plantwise Online Management System (POMS), a secure website that countries can use to record administrative information relating to their plant health system, track progress towards annual targets, and store, view and analyse data from plant clinics.

We often use Balsamiq Mockups or myBalsamiq for creating mockups and wireframes. Licenses are free for not-for-profit organisations and other do-gooders. Read more of this post

Factsheet of the month: April 2015 – Trapping banana weevils

Banana weevils factsheetAccording to the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Tanzania and Uganda, who produce almost half of all bananas in Africa, are only achieving 9% of their expected yield. This year sees the start of a 5-year project to develop high-yielding, pest resistant banana hybrids. Rony Swennen, the project’s leader, says that he hopes this will help to increase resistance to pests such as nematodes, Black Sigatoka and banana weevils. Banana weevils are found in virtually all banana-growing countries of the world and can cause severe damage to the banana plant. The weevils bore into the trunk and roots, which weakens the plants and can cause them to collapse altogether. This month’s Factsheet of the month explains how banana weevil populations can be reduced using traps made from 2 halves of a freshly cut banana stem.

 This factsheet was written by an agronomist from the Ministry of Agriculture in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is also available in French.

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Plant clinics help improve yields in Machakos, Kenya

Plant doctor John Mutisya examining a potato sample at the Katoloni plant clinic Credit: David Onyango © CABI

John Mutisya, a plant doctor at the Katoloni plant clinic examines a potato sample
Credit: David Onyango © CABI

“Approximately 300 farmer-self help groups from Machakos County and its environs under the Katoloni community-based organization have registered improved crop yields in the last one year due to high levels of sensitization on crop pest and diseases at plant clinics in the region,” writes Maugo Owiti of HiviSasa.com.

In the article, Pius Ndaka, a farmer from Iluvya village shares the benefits he has experienced from the Katoloni plant clinic.

Click here to read the full story

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