Feasibility of adopting an IPM approach for sustainable Christophene production in the Northern Range of Trinidad

plantwiseTT_14Contributed by Aldo Hanel, CABI. 

Brasso Secco is a pristine environment located in the Northern Range of Trinidad in close proximity to the world famous Asa Wright Nature Centre. This farming community, among others, is nestled deep in the bosom of the of the Northern Range where approximately 300 family farms depend on Christophene production for their economic survival and well-being. Agriculture, and in particular “Christo” as the crop is fondly called, is the main source of income to more than 75% of them. Any major pest or disease could be devastating not only to the livelihood of these families, but also to the country’s environment if its control results in the inappropriate use of pesticides.

An outbreak of Gummy Stem Blight occurred 11 years ago and the disease is now endemic, affecting 100 percent of farms. Could an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategy be adopted to control this fungal disease and to protect the livelihoods of farmers while protecting this pristine environment? Continue reading

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

Food Security: Where Environmental Health Meets Community Health

Guest blog by Julie Potyraj

Rice farmers in Cambodia
Rice farmers in Cambodia © CABI

If the health of a person depends on the status of their body – genetics, eating habits, age – then environmental health encompasses everything outside of the body. Improving air, soil and water quality, maintaining safe infrastructure, preventing exposure to hazardous substances, and promoting healthy homes and communities are all focuses of environmental health. The health of the environment is directly related to the health of individuals.

Environmental health considers elements like the nutritional quality of the soil for producing nourishing crops. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, “Healthy agricultural ecosystems are the foundation of food security.” However, rural areas in developing countries have suffered the effects of overpopulation, globalization, and climate change. The result is degraded land with low growing capacity. The quality of the soil, land, and environment affects the ability of farmers to grow food, to achieve food security, and to live healthy lives.

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Update: New Pest & Disease Records (27 Jan 16)

Alternaria species can cause foliar disease of muskmelon © Paul Bachi, University of Kentucky Research and Education Center, Bugwood.org
Alternaria species can cause foliar disease of muskmelon © Paul Bachi, University of Kentucky Research and Education Center, Bugwood.org

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 antifungal activities of Chaetomium spp. against Fusarium wilt of tea, the characterization of Alternaria species associated with muskmelon foliar diseases in Beijing municipality of China, and the first report of Cyrtanthus elatus virus A in Narcissus tazetta in India.
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Plant clinics help tackle crop diseases in Rwanda

Excerpt from The New Times article, published 22 January 2016

Plant clinics in Rwanda
Plant doctors examine farmers’ crop samples at Kinkanga Plant Health Clinic in Huye District on Monday. (Emmanuel Ntirenganya)

It is a Monday evening and Dominique Nkundukozera, a farmer in Rusatira Sector in Huye District, is seated on a chair at Kinkanga market, with several cassava stems. He had brought the stems for examination by experts at a ‘Plant Health Clinic’ at the market.

“Before the Plant Clinic initiative, I was losing about 60 per cent of my produce each season. It was unbearable because I could not even recoup the investment on the farm; however, since I started getting advice on disease management, losses have declined to 20 per cent”   Continue reading on The New Times website→

Update: Plant Health News (20 Jan 16)

Scientists are studying a number of wild banana varieties to help in the fight against TR4. Photo: Vezina, Anne / Bioversity International
Wild bananas could be key in the fight against TR4. Photo: Vezina, Anne / Bioversity International

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including the wild bananas that could help overcome TR4 Panama disease, the effect of El Niño on potato crops in Peru and the farmers in Tanzania who are being urged to grown drought resistant crops.

Click on the link to read more of the latest plant health news!

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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