Update: Plant Health News (13 Aug 14)

A UF/IFAS study has found a simple solution for monitoring the spotted wind drosophila © Hannah Burrack (CC BY)

A UF/IFAS study has found a simple solution for monitoring the spotted wind drosophila © Hannah Burrack (CC BY)

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including  the management of Kanjarai leaf spot of banana in India, a UF/IFAS study into monitoring a major berry pest and the invention of the most efficient technology of vegetable growing in Japan.

Click on the link to read more of the latest plant health news!
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Update: New Pest & Disease Records (06 Aug 14)

A mixed infection of Papaya ringspot virus and phytoplasma has been detected in India © Scot Nelson  (CC BY-SA)

A mixed infection of Papaya ringspot virus and phytoplasma has been detected in India © Scot Nelson (CC BY-SA)

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 Diaporthe pseudomangiferae causing inflorescence rot, rachis, canker, and flower abortion of mango,  the first report of mixed infection of Papaya ringspot virus and phytoplasma in papaya in India and fig fly occurrence in Rio Grande do Sul State.

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Facing the future of crop protection: officials from across Africa join IPPC, Plantwise and FAO for collaboration on plant health

DSC_0194 For farmers across Africa and around the world, tackling crop pest problems in a safe and sustainable way is a major challenge. Currently between 30-40% of crops on average are lost to pests, and while the technology and knowledge exist to reduce losses, vital plant health information remains out of reach for many farmers. It is up to each country to find solutions through research, regulation, education and extension to improve access to knowledge and reporting for sustainable plant health management. This week, four African countries united in Accra to outline actions for coordinated pest management and pesticide risk reduction. The goal: building linkages to enable safe and sustainable food security at a national, regional and global level. (Click here for the French language news story).

This workshop, convened by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) Secretariat, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the CABI-led Plantwise programme  was one in a series of recent efforts to better integrate plant health activities and resources in the region. The first workshop in February 2014 was held by IPPC and Plantwise in Nairobi, Kenya bringing together officials from Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. Following its success, the Accra workshop targeted countries in Western and Southern Africa, namely Ghana, Malawi, Sierra Leone and Zambia. This time, the FAO’s Pesticide Management Group was also on hand to emphasize that countries should not only focus on growing more, but growing more with reduced risk. Other resource persons from Botswana, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Italy, Kenya, Switzerland and the United Kingdom attended the event to share experiences with participants.

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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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Update: Plant Health News (30 Jul 14)

Farmers in California are diverting water away from vegetable crops to rescue their almond crops from drought © Luigi Chiesa (CC BY-SA)

Californian farmers are diverting water from vegetable crops to save almonds from drought © Luigi Chiesa (CC BY-SA)

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including the effects of typhoons in Taiwan and China, a new strategy for almond irrigation in California and a crackdown on fake seed sellers in Kenya.

Click on the link to read more of the latest plant health news!
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Looking back on 2013: Plantwise brainstorm

2013 Plantwise knowledge bank infographic


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


NEXT WEEK: West African workshop with Plantwise, IPPC and FAO in Ghana

Photo: D. Nowell, IPPC

Photo: D. Nowell, IPPC

Next Tuesday marks the opening ceremony of Plantwise‘s second workshop co-hosted with IPPC in Africa, this time bringing top plant health officials from across West Africa to Accra, Ghana. Over 40 participants from national crop protection in Sierra Leone, Malawi, Zambia and Ghana will convene over 4 days from July 29- August 1 to focus on critical issues for trade, pest management and sustainable agricultural development in the region. On hand to lead the workshop will be representatives of Plantwise from CABI’s Accra, Nairobi, UK and Swiss centres, along with key officials from FAO Africa, FAO Pesticide Management Group and from the IPPC Secretariat. This workshop follows the the first regional IPPC and Plantwise workshop for East Africa which brought officials from Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda to Nairobi this past February. Watch a video snapshot of the IPPC and Plantwise Workshop in Nairobi and read more about next week’s Accra workshop in the full media announcement in English and in French.


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