Plantwise in Pakistan and its opportunities to share knowledge

The group of participants for the data sharing and use workshop held by Plantwise at the CABI CWA office in Islamabad

The group of participants for the data sharing and use workshop held by Plantwise at the CABI CWA office in Islamabad

 

In June 2014, Dr Aamir H Malik, CABI Country Coordinator for Pakistan, Cambria Finegold, Head of Project Development for the Plantwise Knowledge Bank and Julien Lamontagne-Godwin, Plantwise scientific officer, organised a workshop in Islamabad that united major stakeholders in the Pakistani plant health system. These included the departments of Extension and Adaptive Research, Pest Warning and Quality Control of Pesticides, Agricultural Information, the National Agricultural Research Centre, the Punjab Seed Corporation and the Horticultural Development and Export Company.

The objective was to demonstrate the power and possible use of the data being generated by the rising number of plant clinics in the country. The participants felt that it is crucial that the data, owned by the Directorate General of Extension and Adaptive Research, is shared to a maximum amount of actors in the plant health system.  This will enable them to work more efficiently in the agricultural domain, depending on their mandates: develop updated and topical research strategies, conduct more targeted extension campaigns, understand the health of various crops in a region and develop better seeds or resistant varieties. Indeed, this is one of the core objectives of Plantwise.

Overall, the workshop was an unqualified success, as many partners are now keen to be linked to the data sharing platform that is the Plantwise Knowledge Bank, and receive topical and interesting data from the Directorate General of Extension and Adaptive Research plant clinics.

Watch the new Knowledge Bank demo

Check out the latest video demo featuring highlights of the new Plantwise Knowledge Bank version 2.1. New translation capabilities and offline content delivery make the knowledge bank a shared resource for even more people in more communities worldwide. Regional pages focus on plant health problems that cross national boarders, and improved search and diagnostic tools bring more specific and appropriate information for users’ needs. Already reaching 198 countries with front-line pest management news, records and recommendations, the Knowledge Bank has become a critical resource for global food security

Plantwise knowledge bank well-received in Brazil

Carlos Frederico Vilcem, Vice President of Faculty of Agricultural Science at ENESP (centre) with the CABI team.

Carlos Frederico Vilcem, Vice President of the Faculty of Agricultural Science at UNESP (centre) with the CABI team.

Last week, Cambria Finegold, Head of Project Development for the Plantwise knowledge bank, gave a seminar at São Paulo State University (UNESP), one of the largest agricultural universities in Brazil. The seminar, entitled “The Plantwise Knowledge Bank for research on Distribution, Identification, and Control of Agricultural Pests – Use and Potential” generated positive feedback from attendees and sparked some excellent discussions about the Plantwise initiative.

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So how can we deal with all this plant clinic data?

Plant clinic in Pondicherry, IndiaThere are many ways that data from plant clinics can inform agricultural activities. Clinic data can be used to identify the distribution of major crops and diseases, and help to flag up new and emerging pests and diseases. These data can also contribute to the monitoring of the quality of advice given to farmers at plant clinics, and be used to determine what additional training plant doctors might need.

Plantwise Online Management System graphs

The Plantwise Online Management System will enable plant health stakeholders to view analyses of their plant clinic data © CABI

CABI Country Coordinators and EU Resource Staff for several Plantwise countries gathered in Egham, UK for a two-day course on data management, facilitated by the Plantwise Knowledge Bank team. The course emphasised the importance of collecting good quality data from the plant clinics, and managing it effectively within the country, so that this can provide information to farmers, extension workers, researchers, and other plant health stakeholders.

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Plantwise talks Open Data at G8 event next week… Join us!

ImageWhat food security challenge could be solved with open access to data? CABI’s CEO and Plantwise representatives will join DFID, host USDA, and delegates from G8 countries in Washington, D.C. next week, April 29-30, to discuss putting the open exchange of knowledge at the heart of food security and global nutrition.

This is your chance to weigh in and participate. Watch the event on the USDA live site, and join us on facebook/CABI.development and @CABI_news to have your voice heard. Your top tweets and comments will be featured here on the Plantwise blog.

#OpenAgData   #Plantwise

Maize Lethal Necrosis Disease Spreads To Uganda

Maize plants showing Maize Lethal Necrosis disease © CIMMYT via Flickr (License CC-BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Maize plants showing Maize Lethal Necrosis disease © CIMMYT via Flickr (License CC-BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Maize Lethal Necrosis disease, which was first reported in Kenya and Tanzania, has now spread to Uganda, raising concerns for food security in the country. The Ministry of Agriculture has warned that Maize Lethal Necrosis has been reported in districts in eastern Uganda, including Busia and Tororo.

A spokesman for the Agriculture Research Organisation, Robert Anguzo, has said that Ugandan scientists are working in collaboration with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT) to find management solutions to the disease.

More information about the pests and viruses associated with Maize Lethal Necrosis and the management of the disease can be found on the Plantwise Knowledge Bank

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Plantwise launches in Ghana

Workshop opening ceremony included words from (l-r): Dr Victor Clottey, Dr Entsua-Mensah, Dr Samuel Kojo Dapaah and Morris Akiri © CABI

Workshop opening ceremony included words from (l-r) Dr Victor Clottey, Dr Entsua-Mensah, Dr Samuel Kojo Dapaah and Morris Akiri © CABI

Plantwise, a global initiative run by CABI, was launched in Accra, Ghana last week. The initiative involves establishing plant clinics, which farmers can attend to get advice on plant health from trained plant doctors. In addition to the knowledge they acquire through the training programmes, these plant doctors can make use of the Plantwise Knowledge Bank which provides up-to-date information to best advise the farmer.

Following the launch, a review and planning workshop took place for stakeholders in the agricultural sector.  The event attracted policy makers, extension workers, plant protection officers and researchers as well as private sector and non-governmental agencies who were all keen to share their knowledge and ideas on how to develop Plantwise activities in the country. Read more of this post

How mobile technology could improve agriculture

A farmer looking at symptoms of cocoa black pod on a tablet device © CABI

A farmer looking at symptoms of cocoa black pod on a tablet device © CABI

Technological innovation is becoming increasingly important in agricultural development and productivity. The use of mobile ICT (information and communication technology) in agriculture provides a more efficient and cost-effective method for sharing and exchanging knowledge more widely. Farmers are benefiting  as they can access key information such as pest and disease reports, weather conditions and market prices. It can also improve communication between farmers and extensions workers, who are unable to visit farmers as often as both parties would like. Enhancing communication between farmers, extension workers, researchers and policy makers is essential to the improvement of agricultural efficiency.

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Plantwise 2012 Highlights

Plantwise 2012 Logo

As we move into the New Year and all that 2013 has to offer it seems like a good time to review some of the achievements of 2012 . Here are a few of the Plantwise highlights of 2012!

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Knowledge Bank interview with Agfax radio in Africa

Plantwise factsheet Tanzania

Plantwise factsheets for farmers are freely available on the Knowledge Bank © CABI

Access to agricultural information especially crop pest information, e.g pest identity and practical control options, is an essential ingredient in increasing agricultural production in developing countries. Where available, such information is always inaccessible and poorly developed and farmers hardly understand the contents. The Knowledge Bank, which was launched in July 2012, is part of the wider Plantwise programme, an initiative led by CABI, to help smallholder farmers lose less of what they grow to insect pests and diseases. The Knowledge Bank is an online open-access resource and plays a key role in the access to a wide range of information on crop pests from international scientific literature to simple, actionable factsheets that the farmers can use to solve key pests problems they encounter. This connects both agricultural researchers, extension agents and the farmers in developing countries to reliable and appropriate plant health information wherever they may be.  Visitors to the website are advised to sign up for new crop pest and plant health new alerts which are sent directly to their e-mails.

Agfax, a media based organization with millions of listeners throughout Africa who include farmers, traders, entrepreneurs, field workers – as well as research and development organizations, conducted an interview with me to broadcast on the website to enable wider reach to potential users of the Knowledge Bank. Read more of this post

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