Update: Plant Health News (25 Feb 15)

Uganda are considering use of GM bananas resistant to Xanthomonas wilt © Pascale Lepoint / Bioversity International

Uganda are considering use of GM bananas resistant to Xanthomonas wilt © Pascale Lepoint / Bioversity International

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including the Giant African land snails invading Cuba, the debate over GM bananas in Uganda and a new report from the World Food Programme on connecting farmers to markets.

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Update: New Pest & Disease Records (18 Feb 15)

Xylella fastidiosa has been isolated from grapes in Iran © ENSA-Montpellier Archive, Ecole nationale supérieure agronomique de Montpellier (CC BY-NC)

Symptoms of X. fastidiosa on grape © ENSA-Montpellier (CC BY-NC)

We’ve selected a few of the latest new geographic, host and species records for plant pests and diseases from CAB Abstracts. Records this fortnight include the first report of passiflora root-rot of passion fruit caused by two species of Globisporangium in Japan, a study into grey mold and sclerotinia rot of okra plants and the isolation and pathogenicity of Xylella fastidiosa from grapevine and almond in Iran. 

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Update: Plant Health News (11 Feb 15)

Maize plants infested by Striga © IITA (CC BY-NC)

Maize plants infested by Striga © IITA (CC BY-NC)

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including Striga resistant maize yielding well in Kenya, scientists in the UK  finding a potential way to control leaf blotch disease in wheat and a grant under the Competitive African Rice Initiative (CARI) to help small scale rice producers by creating better linkages in the rice value chain.

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Infographic: Plantwise progress in Kenya so far

PW Kenya Infographic

Plant clinics helped improve my yield

Rose Wanjiru displaying healthy mango fruits in her farm  Credit: David Onyango © CABI

Rose Wanjiru displaying healthy mango fruits in her farm
Credit: David Onyango © CABI

I meet Rose Wanjiru Ireri in her 2.5 acre farm in Mbeere inspecting her crops. From the smile on her face, it is apparent that her plants are healthy.

“I grow oranges, mangoes, cassava and vegetables on my farm. I also produce a lot of bananas for sale.” She currently has over 100 banana plants in her farm. Times are better now, but it has not always been smooth sailing for her. Crop pests and diseases were a major cause of crop losses in her farm until she sought help from her local plant clinic at Kathiga Gaceru irrigation scheme.

“When the leaves of the orange plants became black in colour, I went to the plant clinic with a specimen of the sick leaves. The plant doctors recommended an insecticide to control aphids. I sprayed it on my oranges and now my harvest has greatly improved.”

Rose is one of the many farmers benefiting from the advice provided for free at plant clinics since 2012. “I have been attending the plant clinic at Kathiga Gaceru irrigation scheme for the last one year and I clearly see the benefits. My banana harvest has increased significantly. I have managed to buy more land and construct a poultry house. The best part of this is that the plant clinics offer the services free of charge. ” She sells each bunch of banana at a farm gate price of Kshs 800 each.

CABI is working with The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (MoALF), Kenya Agricultural Livestock and Research Organisation (KALRO), University of Nairobi (UoN), Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS), Pest Control Products Board (PCPB), Agrochemical Association of Kenya (AAK) and Small Scale Horticultural Development Project (SHDP) to set up and run the plant clinics. A total of 89 plant clinics are currently running across 13 counties in Kenya.

Update: New Pest & Disease Records (04 Feb 15)

Rice grasshopper has been spotted on lentil in Madhya Pradesh, India © NBAIR

Rice grasshopper has been spotted on lentil in Madhya Pradesh, India © NBAIR

We’ve selected a few of the latest new geographic, host and species records for plant pests and diseases from CAB Abstracts. Records this fortnight include the first report of stubby root nematode, Paratrichodorus teres from Iran, a new occurrence of rice grasshopper on lentil in Vindhyan plateau of Madhya Pradesh and corm and root rot of Colocasia esculenta caused by Ovatisporangium vexans and Rhizoctonia solani.

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Update: Plant Health News (28 Jan 15)

Ants seen on an Indonesian cocoa pod © Sanjit Das/CABI

Ants seen on an Indonesian cocoa pod © Sanjit Das/CABI

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including native ants helping to improve cocoa yields in Indonesia, unseasonal rains affecting crops in India and local mangoes in the Philippines declared free from mango seed weevil.

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