Update: New Pest & Disease Records (15 Apr 15)

P. pachyrhizi causes rust to develop on soybean leaves © Daren Mueller, Iowa State University via Bugwood

P. pachyrhizi causes rust of soyabean © Daren Mueller, Iowa State University via Bugwood

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 reports of Phakopsora pachyrhizi on soybean in Costa Rica and Malawi, the first report of corynespora leaf spot of Eucalyptus in China and a new report of sweet basil leaf blight caused by Cochliobolus lunatus in India.

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Infographic: Plantwise progress in Malawi


New edition of weed biocontrol catalogue gives information on more than 2000 releases

Himalayan balsam infected with Puccinia rust

Himalayan balsam infected with Puccinia rust – a method of biocontrol being used in the UK. Photo credit: Rob Tanner © CABI

The fifth edition of Biological Control of Weeds: A World Catalogue of Agents and Their Target Weeds has been released after years of literature searches and the involvement of 125 weed biocontrol specialists.

The publication of this catalogue, available as a searchable online database and as a PDF book, was led by Mark Schwarzländer, University of Idaho CALS professor of entomology and biological control of weeds (and a former CABI researcher), and current CABI biological weed researcher, Hariet Hinz. Several prominent invasive species researchers co-edited the catalogue, including CABI’s Chief Scientist, Matthew Cock. Read more of this post

Plantwise on show at Afghan Annual AgFair

Factsheets and other plant doctor equipment displayed at the Plantwise booth

Factsheets and other plant doctor equipment displayed at the Plantwise booth © CABI

by Muhammad Faheem, Country Coordinator (m.faheem@cabi.org) and Zakria Faizi, CABI Associate, Afghanistan (faizizakria@yahoo.com)

The annual AgFair exhibition was held from 21st to 23rd March in Badam Bagh, Kabul, Afghanistan, organized by the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL). The participants were from the government, non-governmental, private sector and farmer organizations.

In this exhibition the Government, NGOs, Simi Governmental and Private companies put their agriculture produce, equipment, new ideas and advanced practices for good agricultural practices (GAP), plant protection, animal husbandry, food preservation, phytosanitary  standards and market access. People from different entities, farmers, public and other foreign visitors came to this exhibition to make it one of the most important places for agricultural commerce.

The Plantwise plant clinic model was presented at our booth displaying plant diagnostic kit, prescription sheets, banners, factsheets, photosheets and pest management decision guides (PMDGs). Printed factsheets were the most attractive material that people were keen to take home. Two trained plant doctors were present at the model clinic, where they briefed the audience and provided on-the-spot advice to farmers. Moreover CABI’s other activities such as bio-control lab products, different projects and themes were put on show for public awareness. Read more of this post

Update: Plant Health News (10 Apr 15)

Onions in storage in Burkina Faso © André de Jager, IFDC

Onions can be affected by pests in storage, reducing the value of the crop © André de Jager, IFDC

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including the identification of genes that increase resistance to potato late blight, improved onion storage in Burkina Faso and the identification of a natural bacterium that kills plantain moth larvae.

Click on the link to read more of the latest plant health news!
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Yesterday’s bread against food waste

Contributed by Äss-bar

New initiative against food waste launches in the Swiss capital
According to a recent report by UNEP and the World Resources Institute (WRI), each year about 1/3 of all food produced worldwide, worth around US$1 trillion, gets lost, spoiled or wasted in food production and consumption systems. This means not only an economic loss, it implies that all of the natural resources used for growing, processing, packaging, transporting and marketing that food were also wasted. These are shocking figures in a world with over 800 million people suffering from hunger (FAO).

What is food loss and food waste?
According to FAO, “food loss and food waste refer to the decrease of food in subsequent stages of the food supply chain intended for human consumption. Food is lost or wasted throughout the supply chain, from initial production down to final household consumption. The decrease may be accidental or intentional, but ultimately leads to less food available for all. Food that gets spilled or spoilt before it reaches its final product or retail stage is called food loss. This is where new concept restaurants like the recently-launched Äss-Bar are aiming to make a difference.

The new Äss-Bar store at the heart of Switzerland’s capital city of Berne. Source: Äss-Bar

The new Äss-Bar store at the heart of Switzerland’s capital city of Berne. Source: Äss-Bar

To set an example against food waste
While the Plantwise programme – by providing solutions for farmers to manage plant health challenges through timely, science-based knowledge – aims to reduce food loss at the beginning of the supply chain, the Äss-Bar concept seeks to contribute to lower food losses at the retail and consumers levels. Developed and implemented by young Swiss professionals who wanted make a statement against food waste in Switzerland, the concept is exceptionally simple. The Àss-Bar aims to reduce bakeries’ food waste by creating a new point of sale for bread and pastries from the day before. ‘Äss-Bar’ in Swiss German means ‘edible’ and this is how they label the products they sell. All you can buy at their store is food waste; local bakeries would have disposed of it all, as is the custom with breads in Europe that are not bought within hours of baking

Äss-Bar collects all the high-quality bread, neatly decorated cakes and sandwiches one day after they would have been thrown out by bakeries and sells them in their own store. And this innovative concept is proving popular. The first store in Zürich sold more than 40 tonnes of bread and pastries in one year. This spring they opened their second store in Switzerland’s capital city of Berne.

Sandwiches and pastries - fresh from yesterday! Source: Äss-Bar

Sandwiches and pastries – fresh from yesterday! Source: Äss-Bar

Surprisingly, it’s not mainly eco-fashionistas or the poverty-stricken who buy bread ‘fresh from yesterday’. Lots of elderly people recall old memories from their youth or stories from their parents about how Switzerland has not always been such a rich and privileged country. The mix of customer groups is very broad, from bankers that work across the street, to teachers and public servants – all enjoy the products that not only taste good but also make a difference in the fight against food waste.

High quality swiss bread selection collected from local bakeries to avoid food waste.  Source: Äss-Bar

High quality Swiss bread selection collected from local bakeries to avoid food waste.
Source: Äss-Bar

Find out more about the initiative by visiting www.aess-bar.ch.
Facebook: www.facebook.com/aessbarbern
Twitter: @aessbarbern

Factsheet of the month: April 2015 – Trapping banana weevils

Banana weevils factsheetAccording to the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Tanzania and Uganda, who produce almost half of all bananas in Africa, are only achieving 9% of their expected yield. This year sees the start of a 5-year project to develop high-yielding, pest resistant banana hybrids. Rony Swennen, the project’s leader, says that he hopes this will help to increase resistance to pests such as nematodes, Black Sigatoka and banana weevils. Banana weevils are found in virtually all banana-growing countries of the world and can cause severe damage to the banana plant. The weevils bore into the trunk and roots, which weakens the plants and can cause them to collapse altogether. This month’s Factsheet of the month explains how banana weevil populations can be reduced using traps made from 2 halves of a freshly cut banana stem.

 This factsheet was written by an agronomist from the Ministry of Agriculture in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is also available in French.

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