Plantwise connecting smallholders to knowledge through ICT Interventions

The emergence of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in the last decade has opened new avenues in knowledge management that could play important roles in meeting the prevailing challenges related to sharing, exchanging and disseminating knowledge and technologies. The types of ICT-enabled services are capable of improving the capacity and livelihoods of poor smallholders are growing quickly. One of the best examples of these services is the use of mobile phones as a platform for exchanging information through short messaging services (SMS), use of broadband services and other android applications. According to a report of Swedish mobile network equipment maker Ericsson, India is the world’s second-largest telecommunications market, with 933 million subscribers and the subscriptions are adding year by year. The growing market of mobile phones in the country is due to the falling cost of handsets which is coupled with improved usability and increasing network coverage. (www.ibef.org).

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Factsheet of the month: January 2015 – Management of clubroot disease in crucifers

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Clubroot is a serious disease of crucifers. It is found in many countries across the world (see the Plantwise distribution map).  It is caused by the fungus Plasmodiophora brassicae, whose spores can live for many years in the soil. This makes the disease difficult to control once a field has been infected.

To find out more about clubroot of crucifers and its management, read this month’s Plantwise Factsheet for Farmers which was written by staff from the Regional Agriculture Research & Development Centre in Sri Lanka. This factsheet is also available in Tamil and Sinhalese.

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Factsheet of the month: December – Management of white stem borer of coffee

The white stem borer, also known as Seto Gavaro, is a major pest of coffee in Nepal. In fact, the government and industry hold the pest largely responsible for the drop in production between mid-2012 and mid-2013. Coffee is a major cash crop in Nepal so it is important that farmers do not lose yield to pests such as the white stem borer. Earlier this year, the government set up a new Coffee Research Centre in Baletaksar after a major outbreak of the white stem borer.

To find out more about white stem borers on coffee and their management, read this month’s Plantwise Factsheet for Farmers which was written by staff from the Pesticide Registration and Management Division, Goverment of Nepal.

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Mexico eradicates Mediterranean fruit fly

Mediterranean fruit fly (Ceratitis capitata)

Mediterranean fruit fly (Ceratitis capitata). ©Daniel Feliciano – CC BY-SA 3.0

Mexico’s Secretary of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fishing and Food (SAGARPA) has declared the country free of the Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata, in a development that is expected to ease trade restrictions and boost the produce industry.

The declaration will positively impact on 1.8 million hectares of growing land for some key agricultural crops – including tomatoes, mangoes and avocados – with an annual production of 17.6 million metric tons (MT). The total value of the affected produce is estimated to be around 86 billion pesos (US$6.4 billion).

SAGARPA said the fruit fly’s eradication was a result of phytosanitary measures that had been in place for 35 years.

Fruit flies are a menacing pest across the world, causing damage to fruits and other agricultural crops with large financial consequences for international trade when export bans are imposed. For example, Pakistani mango imports were at risk of being banned by the EU earlier this year due to fruit fly infestations (http://www.newspakistan.pk/2014/06/23/eu-ban-import-pakistani-mangoes-due-infestation/), and in May this year the EU controversially banned all imports of Indian mangoes due to the discovery of tropical pests in the imported produce (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-27238239).

Do you have a problem with fruit flies in your crop? Find out how to manage fruit flies at a local level by reading pest management factsheets on the Plantwise knowledge bank: http://www.plantwise.org/KnowledgeBank/SearchResults.aspx?q=”fruit fly”.

Find out more about the distribution of the Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata, by clicking on the image below. Distribution records in CABI’s products (Plantwise knowledge bank and CPC) will be updated shortly.

Ceratitis capitata global distribution

Global distribution of Ceratitis capitata, compiled by the Plantwise knowledge bank based on published reports in the scientific literature. ©CABI 2014. http://www.plantwise.org/KnowledgeBank.

Factsheet of the month: November – Brown planthopper of rice

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Last week, Nature published an article on the story of rice, from a wild grass to the stable crop we know today. Rice is one of the most important crops in the world as it forms the basis of the diet of a large portion of the human population. Due to the high importance of this crop, there is a vast amount of research that goes into ensuring the world’s rice production is as efficient and sustainable as possible.

Like all crops, rice is affected by a range of pests including insects, pathogens, weeds, nematodes and birds. One of the most damaging pests for rice in Asia is the Brown Planthopper (BPH). This pest not only feeds on rice plants, but also transmits grassy stunt virus and ragged stunt virus which cause stunting and reduce productivity. There are chemicals that will control this insect pest but it is important to note that this isn’t always the best method of control, due to the effect on natural enemies that feed on BPH. There are a range of non-chemical options that are effective at preventing and controlling BPH including the use of resistant varieties and avoiding excessive urea application to the field.

To find out more about BPH and its management, read this month’s Plantwise Factsheet for Farmers which was written by staff from Shushilan, an agroecology and rights-based NGO situated in South West Bangladesh. Please note this factsheet is also available in Bengali.

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Backstopping visit to Bangkok, Thailand

As the last part of our data management trip, Claire and I headed to Bangkok for the 11th and 12th of September. We joined a group of plant doctors and farmers at the plant clinic/rally in Nong Kung village, Suppaya district, Chainat province. We saw a demonstration on biocontrol, looked through pamphlets and information available to farmers about crop problems, and discussed the rice harvest which was currently taking place. In the backstopping training at the Rice Department, the participants shared their concerns and plans for future data management in Thailand.

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Participants of the data management backstopping in Bangkok. ©CABI

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Farmers attending the clinic to listen to advice about crop protection. ©CABI

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Emily, Claire, Fook Wing, and Siva observing how plant clinics operate in Chainat province. ©CABI

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Discussing data management in Thailand. ©CABI

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Looking forward to a delicious meal in Nong Kung village! ©CABI

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Farmers learning about biocontrol products using fungal spores grown on a culture of cooked rice. ©CABI

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A farmer and plant doctor discussing issues with food crops. ©CABI

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Preserved samples and specimens for comparison purposes when diagnosing crop problems. ©CABI

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View from the plant clinic into part of the village – it was a beautiful, sunny day. ©CABI

Backstopping visit to Hanoi, Vietnam

After our stay in Cambodia, Claire and I continued on our way to Hanoi, Vietnam on September 8th and 9th. From there we drove out to Hưng Yên province, visiting two plant clinics and an agro-dealer. We had the opportunity to speak with farmers and plant doctors about how clinics are going, and how useful they can be for farmers to seek advice on their crops. On the way, we enjoyed some pomelo and longans, and shared a cup of tea.  Afterwards, we headed back to the city and facilitated a backstopping training session about data management for 6 participants. Together, we identified bottlenecks in the data flow process, and discussed how they can be improved.

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Plant doctors at Plant Clinic 8 in Hưng Yên province. ©CABI

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Longan season in Hưng Yên province. ©CABI

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Interview with the leader of Nhat Quang commune while sharing a cup of tea. ©CABI

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Pomelo picked fresh from the tree! ©CABI

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Visiting an agro-dealer and learning about the safety information available for farmers. ©CABI

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Claire highlighting the importance of data management. ©CABI

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The group visiting plant clinic 8 and talking with farmers about how much they valued the advice provided by plant doctors. ©CABI

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Group photo from the backstopping data management training. ©CABI

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