Plant clinics help improve yields in Machakos, Kenya

Plant doctor John Mutisya examining a potato sample at the Katoloni plant clinic Credit: David Onyango © CABI

John Mutisya, a plant doctor at the Katoloni plant clinic examines a potato sample
Credit: David Onyango © CABI

“Approximately 300 farmer-self help groups from Machakos County and its environs under the Katoloni community-based organization have registered improved crop yields in the last one year due to high levels of sensitization on crop pest and diseases at plant clinics in the region,” writes Maugo Owiti of HiviSasa.com.

In the article, Pius Ndaka, a farmer from Iluvya village shares the benefits he has experienced from the Katoloni plant clinic.

Click here to read the full story

Plantwise shortlisted for Olam Food Security Prize

Ghana2

The CABI-led Plantwise programme has been named as a finalist for the Olam Innovation in Food Security Award! This award ‘aims to recognize an outstanding innovation for its potential impact on the availability, affordability, accessibility or adequacy of food, as well as to support its further development.’ As a programme now working in 34 countries, this is also a recognition of the efforts of all the Plantwise supporters and partners- over 168 worldwide- who make this innovation approach a reality in policy and practice. Together we have reached over 2 million farmers with the timely plant health information they need to lose less, and feed more- and this is only the beginning. The final award winner will be announced on March 16. Read the full Plantwise story published on Farming First.

Plantwise linking policy to practice

Contributed by Melanie Bateman, CABI Switzerland

Quarantine, then and now

quarantine 1 During the 1400s, it is estimated that one third of Europe’s population died of the plague. In order to slow its spread, some cities adopted radical measures. For example, the Viscount of Reggio, Italy, decreed that anyone sick with the plague should be moved to fields outside the city to either recover or die. The word “quarantine” derives from the Italian word “quarantino”, referring to the 40 day isolation period that ships coming from plague areas had to undergo before entering the Mediterranean port of Ragusa[1].

While the movement of goods and people remains a pathway for the spread of pests and diseases, modern frameworks such as the International Plant Protection Convention have been established in order to promote international cooperation to prevent the spread of pests which cause crop losses and do harm to natural ecosystems. Member countries work together, for example, by identifying potential means for pests to move to new areas (such sea containers or internet sales), and then the member countries agree on approaches to address these issues. For example, International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPMs) have been adopted which provide guidance on surveillance, pest eradication and the establishment of pest free areas.

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Perú: Dos nuevas clínicas de plantas para los agricultores Lambayecanos

Proporcionando servicio de diagnósticos y recomendaciones  a los agricultores a las clínicas de plantas en Solecape (Martha Passador, CABI)

Proporcionando servicio de diagnósticos y recomendaciones a los agricultores a las clínicas de plantas en Solecape (Martha Passador, CABI)

Autores: Martha Passador (CABI) y Juan Pablo Gonzáles (EEA Vista Florida)

English summary follows

Debido a las necesidades de asistencia en algunos puntos más lejanos de la región de Lambayeque en Perú, y  mediante dos nuevos módulos de asistencia técnica, en el cual las Clínicas de Plantas forman parte del componente de diagnóstico y recomendación a los problemas identificados, implementados por el Instituto Nacional de Innovación Agraria – INIA. La institución busca brindar el servicio y beneficiar de manera directa a más de 200 agricultores lambayecanos en el diagnóstico oportuno de plagas y enfermedades  con el objetivo de reducir las pérdidas ocasionadas por el ataque de estas.

Las dos nuevas atenciones en las “Clínicas de Plantas” se encuentran ubicadas en los sectores de Solecape y Puente Tuñoque en Muy Finca, distrito de Mochumí. En ellas, los agricultores, podrán acercarse a realizar sus consultas sobre plagas y enfermedades sin costo alguno.

Agricultores de Solecape con doctores de plantas, especialistas del INIA y el equipo CABI (Martha Passador y Javier Franco) (Foto: Juan Pablo Gonzáles Delgado)

Agricultores de Solecape con doctores de plantas, especialistas del INIA y el equipo CABI (Martha Passador y Javier Franco) (Foto: Juan Pablo Gonzáles Delgado, EEA Vista Florida)

La metodología de trabajo de estas clínicas de plantas o módulos de asistencia técnica, permite brindar un espacio donde el agricultor pueda recurrir frente a la necesidad de asesoría y que la reciba de manera oportuna. Para ello estas clínicas atenderán de manera periódica.

La Ing. Patricia Villegas, Coordinadora de la Unidad de Extensión Agraria de la EEA “Vista Florida” – Lambayeque, indica que la metodología de atención en estas clínicas de plantas, es similar a las jornadas de atención médica. El agricultor sólo necesita acercarse con una muestra de su planta atacada por alguna plaga o enfermedad y el “Doctor de Plantas” le brindará la asesoría necesaria para tratar su problema fitosanitario, además de brindarle las recomendaciones necesarias para prevenir futuros ataques de la plaga. Esto no le demandará al agricultor más de media hora, con lo cual puede acudir a la clínica de plantas y luego volver a sus labores cotidianas, indicó la Ing. Villegas.

Las primeras reuniones para implementación de las atenciones de las clínicas de plantas en estos dos lugares se realizaron en los días 2 (Solecape) y 3 (Puente Tuñoque) de Diciembre del 2014. Las atenciones de estas clínica cuentan con dos ingenieros especialistas, que ofrecieron, en esta primera reunión,  explicaciones y demostraciones para utilización del Trichogramma sp. para el control de plagas lepidópteras en algodón.

Explicación y simulación de una atención de clínica de plantas a los agricultores en Puente Tuñoque (Foto: Martha Passador, CABI)

Explicación y simulación de una atención de clínica de plantas a los agricultores en Puente Tuñoque (Foto: Martha Passador, CABI)

Después que Patricia Villegas presentó a los agricultores los objetivos de la clínica de plantas, fue realizado un simulacro de una atención en clínica de plantas. En los dos sitios hubo una respuesta positiva por parte de los productores, los cuales esperan ansiosamente el inicio de las actividades de la clínica de plantas.

Además de dos especialistas en plagas del algodonero y representantes de la asociación de los productores locales, estuvieron apoyando al equipo del INIA, dos integrantes del programa Plantwise de CABI,  la Dra. Martha Passador y el Dr. Javier Franco.

Cabe mencionar que estos módulos han sido instalados gracias al trabajo del INIA y los Coordinadores Nacionales Luis Torres (EEA-La Molina) y Luis Navarrete (EEA-La Molina), junto al Programa Plantwise, el cual se ejecuta a nivel mundial y tiene presencia en 33 países y hasta la fecha ha implementado más de 720 clínicas de plantas brindando un servicio directo a los agricultores.

Agricultores de Solecape con doctores de plantas, especialistas del INIA y el equipo de CABI )Martha Passador y Javier Franco) (Foto: Juan Pablo Gonzáles Delgado)

Agricultores de Solecape con doctores de plantas, especialistas del INIA y el equipo de CABI )Martha Passador y Javier Franco) (Foto: Juan Pablo Gonzáles Delgado)

El programa tiene como objetivo mejorar la seguridad alimentaria mediante la reducción de las pérdidas de cultivos a través del apoyo a los agricultores con los módulos de atención- clínica para plantas y un banco de conocimientos global sobre plagas y enfermedades de los cultivos.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In December 2014, due to an increase need for agricultural assistance in some of the furthest parts of the Lambayeque region in Peru, INIA (Instituto Nacional de Innovación Agraria), assisted by Plantwise staff, implemented two new plant clinics in Solecape and Puente Tuñoque (Muy Finca, Mochumí district). Through those new clinics, INIA aims to provide a diagnostic and recommendation service to more than 200 farmers with the objective of reducing crop losses caused by pests and diseases. As part of the service provided by the plant clinics, during the first session, two cotton specialists demonstrated the use of parasitic wasps (Trichogramma sp.) to control lepidopteran pests in cotton fields. In both locations, positive feedback has been received from producers, who are looking forward to the beginning of the plant clinic activities.

Plantwise connecting smallholders to knowledge through ICT Interventions

The emergence of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in the last decade has opened new avenues in knowledge management that could play important roles in meeting the prevailing challenges related to sharing, exchanging and disseminating knowledge and technologies. The types of ICT-enabled services are capable of improving the capacity and livelihoods of poor smallholders are growing quickly. One of the best examples of these services is the use of mobile phones as a platform for exchanging information through short messaging services (SMS), use of broadband services and other android applications. According to a report of Swedish mobile network equipment maker Ericsson, India is the world’s second-largest telecommunications market, with 933 million subscribers and the subscriptions are adding year by year. The growing market of mobile phones in the country is due to the falling cost of handsets which is coupled with improved usability and increasing network coverage. (www.ibef.org).

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One stop shop for information on internationally restricted chemicals

Contributed by Melanie Bateman, CABI Switzerland

mel blogTogether, the three conventions that govern chemicals and hazardous waste safety at the global level (the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions) have launched an online search tool for finding technical and scientific publications to support sound management of chemicals and waste: http://synergies.pops.int/Implementation/Publications/ScientificandTechnicalPublications/tabid/3790/language/en-US/Default.aspx

In particular, the member countries of these Conventions have singled out certain chemicals because of the harm that they can cause to human health and the environment. The online search tool makes it easy to access information on these chemicals, and it brings together information on management and risk reduction across the chemicals’ life cycles. With the click of a button, it is possible to access information on the production, trade, storage, use and safe disposal of these problematic pesticides and other chemicals.

Giving thanks and lending support for bountiful harvests and good health

Contributed by Melanie Bateman

ThanksgivingToday, families in the US gather around the table for Thanksgiving, a national holiday to celebrate the harvest and to give thanks in general for all of life’s bounties. The United States is not unique in this custom; many other countries celebrate harvests and mark particular days as occasions for reflection and giving thanks. For example, Canada’s Thanksgiving took place in October, and Liberia celebrated Thanksgiving just a few weeks ago on Thursday, the 6th of November.

Thanksgiving also serves as a time to reflect on the challenges faced by those who are not as fortunate, particularly those in places where food security is at risk. In her statements to mark Liberia’s Thanksgiving holiday, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf commented on the havoc wreaked by Ebola on her country and she further stated that “it is befitting that a day be set aside for the Nation and its people to give thanks … for the preservation of the lives of its people to overcome the spreading of the pathogenic disease”.

Liberia’s neighbours Sierra Leone and Guinea also continue to struggle against Ebola. According to a recent article, Sierra Leone will soon displace Liberia as the country worst hit by the outbreak. Many parts of the country are under quarantine, restricting the movement of goods and people. These travel restrictions have profound implications – getting food to people in quarantine is no small task. For small-scale farmers and small-scale miners in particular, Ebola’s impact has been “catastrophic”. While Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security and the affiliated plant doctors continue to try to persevere with activities to support farmers, many challenges stand in their way. Even so, activities are still going forward as possible since the national team has passes to visit plant clinics and they have made distributions of items to plant doctors. Thankfully, there have been no reports of any problems with a plant doctor.

Reflection on challenges such as Ebola can in turn serve as a call to action. The people of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia are working to defeat Ebola, but it is essential that the international community joins them in this fight. To learn more about the efforts of international organisations and to lend your own support, visit the webpages of organisations like the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Doctors without Borders (Medecins sans Frontiers) and the International Medical Corps, among others.

 

 

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