Factsheet of the month: February 2016 – Rotation against purple seed stain in soya

20167800029At 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 kikuchii which causes seeds to turn purple and affects the price that they fetch on the market. Continue reading

Collaboration between Plantwise and the University of Queensland

Plantwise factsheet app
Plantwise Factsheet Library

In 2014, Holly alerted our blog followers to the Plantwise factsheet library app, aimed to provide country extension workers with a portable electronic library of pest management factsheets. Since then, there have been in excess of 65,000 sessions of the app by our global users. Continue reading

Factsheet of the month: January 2016 – Blast in Paddy

Rice blast factsheetScientists from the University of Delaware, USA, have recently uncovered critical information about the effect that deadly rice blast fungus has on rice plants, which could lead to more effective effective control measures in the fight against this disease. The team found that Magnaporthe grisea, the fungus responsible for rice blast, causes an increase in the production of abscisic acid in the plant on infection. Abscisic acid is a stress hormone usually released during times of drought to prevent the plant from losing water through holes in its leaves. However, it has been found that this hormone also causes a reduction in the disease fighting mechanisms of the plant.

The first factsheet of the month for 2016 ‘Blast in Paddy‘ contains information on the current methods of control used to manage rice blast in rice, or paddy as it is sometimes known. This Pest Management Decision guide was written by Mr G. Sudhakar from the M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF), India.

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Who owns open agricultural data?

This is an edited re-blog from an Open Data Institute (ODI) blog post published under Creative Commons BY-SA 2.0 UK license

by Martin Parr, Head of Open Data at CABI. Follow Martin on Twitter.

Kenya tablets at a plant clinic
Plantwise plant doctor gives advice to a farmer and delivers it by SMS. Credit: Holly Wright, copyright: CABI.

The Plantwise programme has developed a knowledge bank to share Good Agricultural Practice and a very high level of anonymised data about incidences of plant pests and diseases.

Success of the CABI Plantwise programme is measured by the extent to which it provides advice to farmers, agencies and governments in tackling pests. Increasingly it’s moving away from solely giving advice at a local level, to also understanding national, regional and global trends.

Through our partnerships with governments, extension workers, NGOs and others on the ground, we’ve collected data through thousands of recorded consultations with farmers. To date, we’ve documented 150,000 cases globally in 34 countries which highlight the everyday concerns of small- and medium-sized farms around the world.

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Factsheet of the month: November 2015 – Using natural nematicide plants against banana nematodes

20157800105Researchers 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

Factsheet of the month: October 2015 – Grain storage in metal silos against insect pests

20157800264Last 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.

The second SDG on the list is to “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.” Globally, 1 in 9 people are undernourished, the majority of whom are in developing countries where food loss is an important factor. Food loss is the food that gets spilled or spoilt before it reaches its final product or retail stage, whereas food waste happens at the retailer or consumer stage. Continue reading

Pest management advice in person, in print, on mobile…what next?

Afidos en frijol PMDGIf you take a look at a Plantwise pest management decision guide (PMDG) on the Knowledge Bank, it probably won’t look much different to how it looked before. However, under the covers, this PDF has been created in a completely different way to before. This is because we are now storing each part of the PMDG factsheet in a database. This approach to storing content, previously implemented for Plantwise’s Factsheets for Farmers, is being extended for our other content types with the PMDGs being the latest significant addition. It has exciting implications for how pest management advice can be disseminated. Now we are not just limited to what can be provided on paper – the factsheets can be used in web or mobile applications (such as the Plantwise factsheets app), and could be mashed up with other content or data to add further value to the information. Continue reading