Factsheet of the month: September – Bacterial wilt management in tomatoes

Bacterial wiltLast month, SciDevNet reported on a hybrid tomato variety that is encouraging Nepali farmers back into tomato production after the majority of plantations were wiped out by storms and disease 5 years ago. The variety, known as Shrijana, is high-yielding, wilt and disease-resistant and flavoursome. The higher yields have increased farmers’ incomes, thus raising their standard of living. This has allowed more farmers in Nepal to send their children to private schools. However, Nepali scientists will continue to research new varieties as it is possible that Shrijana could become susceptible to bacterial wilt over time.

Bacterial wilt is a common and devastating disease affecting a large number of hosts including potato and tomato. It is caused by the bacterium Ralstonia solanacearum which can cause damage to host plants at all growth stages. There are a variety of control measures that have found to be effective against the disease, of which the use of resistant varieties is just one. To read more about additional control measures, read this month’s Plantwise Factsheet for Farmers which was produced by employees from the Horticultural Research and Training Institute (Horti) in Tengeru, Tanzania. Please note this factsheet is also available in Swahili.

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Factsheet of the month: August – Sulphur to control powdery mildew in cashew

Sulphur to control powdery mildewLast weekend, a team of experts from the Naliendele agricultural research institute (NARI) held a seminar in Tanzania to present lectures on the prevention and control of pests affecting cashew. Although cashew production in Tanzania has declined since the 1970s, it remains an important cash crop in the coastal regions of the country. The seminar, held in Mkinga District, aimed to bring extensionists and researchers together to promote the exchange of ideas and provide the extension officers with the knowledge to be able to advise farmers on how to improve the health, and therefore the yields, of their cashew crop.

Powdery mildew is the most important disease facing cashews in Tanzania and was the subject of one of the lectures held in Mkinga District. The disease, which is caused by a fungus, causes patches of white powder to appear on the surface of the leaves and other plant parts. To find out about how sulphur can be used in the management of powdery mildew on cashew,  read the Plantwise Factsheet for Farmers created by employees from Mkuranga District Council and the Ministry of Agriculture in Tanzania. This factsheet is also available in Swahili.

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Looking back on 2013: Plantwise brainstorm

2013 Plantwise knowledge bank infographic

©CABI

Last year, 2013, was a productive year for Plantwise. There were over 120,000 visits to the online knowledge bank, with over 250,000 page views. This is great news because there were over 15,000 views per month, with people exploring distribution maps, browsing the image-led diagnostic tool, and looking at factsheets on treatment of pests and diseases. Of the views, about a quarter were from PW countries, where use has doubled since the same time in 2012.

We’re excited to share that at the end of last year, there were more than 7,500 factsheets publicly available on the knowledge bank, with 550 Factsheets for Farmers, 100 Pest Management Decision Guides, 3,400 Technical Factsheets and links to 3,500 External factsheets. The Technical Factsheets included 2,500 pests that affect over 4,000 different agriculturally significant hosts.

Mobile is progressing well, with over 450 Factsheets for Farmers having been repurposed and available via tablet or smartphone. This means that plant doctors on the e-clinics pilot initiative have access to factsheet information in real-time as they fill out prescription forms, making diagnoses and recommendations more accurate. Using mobile technology also increases the number of people that Plantwise reaches, especially since the app works with intermittent internet, and can be viewed offline.

The Pest Alert service had 545 sign-ups from 200 countries, including 169 contacts from the National Plant Protection Organizations.

As of the end of December 2013, plant clinics were regularly collecting data in 14 countries, with over 18,000 records of visits by farmers. Local and national engagement continues to increase in 2014, with the current numbers in July being over 50 000 records collected from 23 countries.

It’s been a busy first half of 2014, and we’re already making good progress on figures for this year. Check out the knowledge bank site to see the content we’ve added recently!

 

Yours in losing less and feeding more,

The Plantwise knowledge bank

 

The unfortunate plight of the pollinators- Who are the culprits?

Photo credit: Autan@fickr.com

Honey bee foraging on the flower

Why are pollinators declining? New research suggests neonicotinoids are to blame.

When we talk of the crop production we hardly remember to acknowledge the services of these tiny pollinators and also don’t bother to safeguard them when we invest a lot in plant protection. These pollinators play an elemental role in an important process of nature known as pollination. Pollination is an important process in both human managed and natural terrestrial ecosystems. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations pollination is one of the essential ecosystem services. Read more of this post

Factsheet of the month: July – Maize Lethal Necrosis Disease

20137804184-page-0On Friday, the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) released an official pest report, submitted by KEPHIS, for the presence of Maize lethal necrosis disease (MLND) in Kenya. This disease is caused by a co-infection of Maize Chlorotic Mottle Virus and another cereal potyvirus, such as Sugarcane Mosaic Virus, Wheat Streak Mosaic Virus or Maize Dwarf Mosaic Virus. This co-infection causes more severe symptoms that either of the viruses causes alone. Symptoms include mottling, stunting, necrosis and malformed ears.

MLND can devastate maize crops, impacting farmers’ incomes and the food security of the area. To find out how to recognise and control MLND, read the Plantwise Factsheet for Farmers created by employees from the Ministry of Agriculture and CABI.

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Plantwise in Pakistan and its opportunities to share knowledge

The group of participants for the data sharing and use workshop held by Plantwise at the CABI CWA office in Islamabad

The group of participants for the data sharing and use workshop held by Plantwise at the CABI CWA office in Islamabad

 

In June 2014, Dr Aamir H Malik, CABI Country Coordinator for Pakistan, Cambria Finegold, Head of Project Development for the Plantwise Knowledge Bank and Julien Lamontagne-Godwin, Plantwise scientific officer, organised a workshop in Islamabad that united major stakeholders in the Pakistani plant health system. These included the departments of Extension and Adaptive Research, Pest Warning and Quality Control of Pesticides, Agricultural Information, the National Agricultural Research Centre, the Punjab Seed Corporation and the Horticultural Development and Export Company.

The objective was to demonstrate the power and possible use of the data being generated by the rising number of plant clinics in the country. The participants felt that it is crucial that the data, owned by the Directorate General of Extension and Adaptive Research, is shared to a maximum amount of actors in the plant health system.  This will enable them to work more efficiently in the agricultural domain, depending on their mandates: develop updated and topical research strategies, conduct more targeted extension campaigns, understand the health of various crops in a region and develop better seeds or resistant varieties. Indeed, this is one of the core objectives of Plantwise.

Overall, the workshop was an unqualified success, as many partners are now keen to be linked to the data sharing platform that is the Plantwise Knowledge Bank, and receive topical and interesting data from the Directorate General of Extension and Adaptive Research plant clinics.

Factsheet of the month: June – Wild Oat Weed in Wheat

Wheat is one of the most important crops grown around the world. Its high protein content compared to other cereals  means it is a key component in the diets of  many. It is also easy to cultivate, versatile and contains a range of vitamins and minerals.

Although pest resistant varieties of wheat have been developed, there are still numerous pests that can affect the yield of wheat, such as weeds. Wild oat is an example of one of these weeds. Wild oat resembles wheat so it often goes unnoticed until the wheat crop is already being affected. For information about how to identify wild oat in your wheat field, and how to manage this weed, please read the ‘Wild Oat Weed in Wheat’ factsheet, written by staff at the Plant Protection and Quarantine Department of Afghanistan’s Ministry of Agriculture. Please note this factsheet is also available in Dari.

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