Photostory: SDC visits Plantwise Sri Lanka

The story of support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) for the Plantwise food security programme goes back to its inception in 2011. Since the start, SDC has been a major supporter of both in-country programme activities as well as global resources such as the Plantwise knowledge bank. Sri Lanka is one example of a Plantwise country that has shown particularly strong uptake of the plant clinic concept. This prompted Dr Carmen Thoennissen, an SDC senior advisor for the Global Programme Food Security, to join CABI staff and partners in Sri Lanka for 3 days to discover how the programme is unfolding on the ground and understand what makes it a success. Check out the photo story and read more after the jump

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Plantwise joins IPPC in Rome to discuss building linkages for NPPOs

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IPPC’s Dave Nowell addresses the side event audience from the panel at FAO headquarters

 

 

Delegates from over twenty-six countries attended last Thursday’s side event jointly-hosted by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) Secretariat and the CABI-led Plantwise programme which served the goals common to both organizations: empowering countries to protect crops, thereby increasing food security.

The event on the evening of April 2ndat Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN headquarters brought together key plant health stakeholders of the IPPC there to attend the 9th Commission on Phytosanitary Measures (CPM).

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Eunice Kagendo Lingeera of the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) shares her experience as a Plantwise National Data Validation Team member   (Photo: D.Nowell, IPPC)

Agricultural officials from the governments of Sri Lanka, Uganda and Kenya stood and presented their own experiences of establishing and tapping into Plantwise resources to support their daily roles in National Plant Protection Organizations (NPPOs). Back home, these presenters’ all work for the NPPOs whose activities cover a range of different plant health roles, including extension, research and phytosanitary quarantine. Read more of this post

The price of organic farming…prison time?

pinot gris grapes
Judges in France are now considering an appropriate punishment for one organic winemaker who has refused to spray his vines with pesticides. Without spraying, they say he could be contributing to further infestation of the leafhopper Scaphoideus titanus in the region. As the Guardian in the UK reports, Emmanuel Giboulot now faces a 6-month prison sentence and a €30,000 fine for failing to apply insecticide. His justification for refusing, he says, is that chemical measures are both ineffective at managing the pest, which can carry flavescence dorée disease,  and damaging to pollinating insects such as bees. Instead, he insists the disease can be managed by more natural means. Over 41,000 people have signed a petition in his defense.

International Women’s Day 2014: Women in agriculture

A female pearl millet farmer with part of her harvest © ICRISAT

A female pearl millet farmer with part of her harvest © ICRISAT

I would like to acknowledge Abigail Rumsey, Claire Curry, Emily Palmer and Léna Durocher-Granger for their contributions to this blog post.

For over a century countries globally have celebrated International Women’s Day as a day to reflect on the role of women in society. In honor of International Women’s Day 2014 we are giving a special focus to women in agriculture. Read more of this post

IPPC and Plantwise lead successful workshop for coordinated plant protection in East Africa

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Watch the video here.

From Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, key representatives of agricultural institutions gathered in Nairobi for the first ever joint workshop led by CABI’s Plantwise programme and the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) Secretariat. The workshop was convened in an effort to exchange national experiences in plant protection and pave the way for renewed strategies to share plant pest information from the region.

The workshop highlighted the variety of actors already working in each country to detect, report and respond to pest problems, which on average account for 40% of crop losses worldwide and threaten trade and food security. However, across the region it was apparent that all national systems could benefit from additional resources and collaboration, especially for fulfilling national reporting obligations under the IPPC. Since 1951, the IPPC has been responsible for protecting agriculture and the environment by limiting the spread of plant pests. Essential to this mission is country-level cooperation among different organizations.

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Plantwise 2013 Highlights

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As we move into the New Year and all that 2014 has to offer it seems like a good time to review some of the achievements of 2013. Here are a few of the Plantwise highlights of 2013!

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UK Needs Increase In Agriculture Graduates To Tackle Global Food Security

Giving children the opportunity to learn more about insects at a young age may create the interest and enthusiasm required for a subsequent career in entomology. Photo taken at Penn State's Great Insect Fair, 2012 hosted by Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences' Entomology Department © Penn State (CC-BY-NC 2.0)

Giving children the opportunity to learn more about insects at a young age may create the interest and enthusiasm required for a subsequent career in entomology. Photo taken at Penn State’s Great Insect Fair, 2012 hosted by Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences’ Entomology Department © Penn State (CC-BY-NC 2.0)

Increasing the production of food in an environmentally sustainable way is a major global issue. A report produced by the UK Cabinet Office in 2008 predicted that the global population will rise to 9 billion by 2050 from a current 6.8 billion. This increase in population will substantially increase demand for food, with food production needing to increase by 70% in the next 40 years whilst using the same agricultural footprint and without depleting natural resources. This challenge will require collaboration between universities, research institutes and industry in order to make the considerable advances in technology required to feed a growing population. There is now increasing concern that there are too few specialist graduates in the UK with the expert knowledge and skills required to tackle the issues surrounding global food security.

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Update: Plant Health News (18 Dec 13)

New technology can improve the detection papaya viruses © Prato9x

New technology can improve the detection of papaya viruses © Prato9x

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including the use of technology to improve the detection of papaya viruses, toxins discovered in banana root tissue kill root pests and the vital importance of water conservation in Nigeria to avoid food crises.

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

 

 

 

 

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Typhoon Haiyan Devastates Agriculture in the Philippines

Typhoon Haiyan  ©NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team

Typhoon Haiyan ©NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team

Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful storms on record tore through the Philippines on 8th November. With a confirmed death toll of 4,460, 4 million people displaced and 13 million people affected, the typhoon has undoubtedly caused widespread destruction and devastation. The destruction to the country’s agricultural sectors is becoming increasingly evident. An estimated 153,495 ha of crops have been damaged causing losses of $225 million and the livelihoods of over 1 million farmers adversely affected.

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A Tale of Two Worlds: Favourable Projections, Looming Dearth

It is the best of times, it is the worst of times, it is the season of plenty, it is the season of famine – in short, it is that time when the positive medium term outlook for world agriculture is tempered by the “usual suspects.”

For the fourth month running, the FAO Food Price Index – a measure of the monthly change in the international prices of a basket of food commodities – dropped in August reaching its lowest level since 2012. The decline in the index was the result of sustained falls in the international prices of cereals and oils. Together with the Food Price Index, FAO also released a new forecast of world cereal production in 2013. In this forecast, world cereal production was raised to 2,492 million tonnes, up 14 million tonnes (or 0.5 percent) from the July forecast. The rise is predicted to be driven by an expansion of coarse grain output as well as a rise in wheat production. Paradoxically, as FAO was giving relatively favourable prospects for world agriculture, there was a mood of gloom and despondency in Kenya and Zimbabwe! Read more of this post

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