Plant doctors share advice using WhatsApp and Facebook in Central America

by Erica Chernoh and Eduardo Hidalgo, CABI

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Discussion of symptoms and a diagnosis on the WhatsApp group for plant doctors in Honduras
Discussion of symptoms and a diagnosis on the WhatsApp group for plant doctors in Honduras

 

The software application WhatsApp is being used by plant doctors in Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Honduras to provide and receive plant diagnostic support. WhatsApp has proven to be popular in many countries, because it is a free communication tool for sending and receiving SMS messages. Continue reading

Plantwise Vietnam welcomes the Chairman, Governing Board of CABI

Report by Dr Sivapragasam Annamalai, CABI Country Coordinator for Plantwise Vietnam

Mr. Philip Walters, the Chairman of the Governing Board, CABI visited a plant clinic in Tan My Chanh Village, My Tho City, Tien Giang Province, south Vietnam on the 2nd  November, 2015.  It was his first ever visit to a plant clinic in operation. During the visit, he was accompanied by Dr. Nguyen Van Tuat, the Vice President of VAAS and National Coordinator of Plantwise Vietnam; Dr. Nguyen Van Hoa, Director General of the Southern Fruits Research Institute (SOFRI), a local Implementing Organization of Plantwise, Vietnam and Dr. Siva Annamalai, the CABI Country Coordinator for Plantwise in Vietnam.  During the visit, he was able to see the plant doctors in action diagnosing disease samples and giving appropriate recommendations for the problems faced by mainly citrus farmers in the area.  He also interviewed some farmers and a Vice Chairman of the commune to get a feel of their perception on plant clinics and their future needs.

After the visit to the plant clinic, Mr Philip visited SOFRI and was briefed on the overall Plantwise operations in Vietnam by Dr. Tuat and Dr. Hoa. He addressed the questions raised by the Plantwise Team in Vietnam, assisted by Dr. Siva. Mr. Philip also visited the diagnostic laboratory and other Plantwise-related facilities in SOFRI.   Overall, the trip was a successful one and in the words of Mr. Philip: “impressed with the Plantwise developments going on in Vietnam”.

Plantwise progress reported at 2015 Donor Forum

Progress made by Plantwise in 2015 was the subject of the global programme’s annual Donor Forum earlier this month (October 6-7, 2015). The meeting took place in the Swiss Pavilion at the Milan World Expo where Plantwise is the focus of an interactive exhibit.

Plantwise executives invited key programme donors to attend the annual meeting and those participating included the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands (DGIS), Irish Aid, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Ministry of Agriculture, People’s Republic of China.

Key Plantwise stakeholders come together at the Swiss Pavilion at Expo Milan.
Key Plantwise stakeholders come together at the Swiss Pavilion at Expo Milan.

Kicking off the two-day session, Plantwise Executive Dr Ulrich Kuhlmann reported on progress from the past year of expansion and consolidation for Plantwise across 34 countries. Highlights included the updated Plantwise Strategy for 2015-2020, the development of a systematic monitoring and evaluation plan for roll-out in all Plantwise countries, as well as more than 850 newly trained plant doctors. Continue reading

Rice pests are no longer winning: the Khmer Smile is back

Hy Broey, rice farmer in Cambodia
Hy Broey, rice farmer in Cambodia © CABI

Contributed by Heng Chunn Hy and Ho Chea, General Department of Agriculture, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Hy Broey, a farmer from Choeung Tik Khor village in Prey Veng Province, Cambodia, came with her problem to the plant clinic. She had many problems in rice planting and production, especially during the tillering stage. By attending plant clinics in her village she has learned how to solve her agricultural problems.

Mr Tep Say, the plant doctor, had identified the problem and told her that it was caused by stem borer. He showed her the affected part: dead hearts or dead tillers that can be easily pulled from the base during the vegetative stages. Also, during the reproductive stage, the plants were showing whiteheads: emerging panicles were whitish and unfilled or empty. He showed her tiny holes on the stems and tillers. He told her that she should synchronize planting, and use a recommended resistant variety. During the harvesting she should cut rice near the stem base in order to remove and kill all larvae and pupae. She should also try to conserve predators and try to catch the adult stem borer moths. If she removes all the affected plants, and only if the insect still persists, she can spray a named insecticide in order to kill the insect.

Later the plant doctor also visited the farmer’s field and gave her IPM recommendations. He told her and her husband not only to rely on chemical control but also include cultural practice to improve crop yields, and to protect the environment, thus allowing the natural enemies like dragonflies to breed and help control the adult stem borer moth.

The plant doctor had a follow-up visit to the farmer to see the implementation of his advice. After attending the plant clinic, Hy Borey and her husband changed their habit of only relying on chemical sprays and practised with IPM technique as provided by the plant doctor. They got good results and harvested a good crop. At the harvesting time the farmer was very happy since she got a better yield. Before visiting the plant clinic she got only 2.5 ton/ha but this year after visiting the plant clinic the yield had increased to 3.7 ton/ha. Before visiting plant clinics, she sprayed pesticide 3 times per season for management of pests but after visiting the plant clinic she learnt to apply the IPM method to control insects and diseases, and no more spraying of chemicals was required in this season. She was very happy and thanked CABI’s Plantwise plant clinic program for the support to help farmers in Prey Veng, and other provinces as well.

Perú: nueva clínica de plantas en de la región de Lambayeque

Texto preparado y editado por Martha Passador, Melanie Bateman y Javier Franco

Bernardina Bereche y su hijo Antonio Hiause después de recibir el formulario con recomendaciones. Foto: Martha Passador
Bernardina Bereche y su hijo Antonio Hiause después de recibir el formulario con recomendaciones. Foto: Martha Passador

Los agricultores de la región de Lambayeque recibieron el día 20 de Julio del 2015 un nuevo servicio para mejorar su producción agrícola. Una nueva clínica ubicada en el poblado de Batan Grande fue inaugurada, dónde los agricultores de esta región podrán acercarse a realizar sus consultas sobre plagas y enfermedades sin costo alguno. Batan Grande es un poblado menor perteneciente al distrito de Pitipo, Provincia de Ferreñafe, Región Lambayeque, dónde los agricultores tienes sus cultivos de arroz, maíz, cebolla, lenteja, papa y maracuyá.

La primera atención de esta nueva clínica, contó con la presencia del alcalde de Batan Grande, Luis Alberto  Valladolid Terrones, que confirmó el apoyo de la alcaldía para este servicio. Antes del inicio de los servicios de clínica, la Ing. Patricia Villegas, Coordinadora de la Unidad de Extensión Agraria de la EEA-Vista Florida-Lambayeque, explicó a los agricultores cómo sería realizado el trabajo. Patricia les explicó que en esta clínica, 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 resolver su problema fitosanitario, además de brindarle las recomendaciones necesarias para prevenir futuros ataques de la plaga.

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This Earth Day, think agriculture

Corn fingers

On April 22nd, 1970- the date of the first Earth Day– 20 million people marched for clean air, clean water and improved environmental protections. These actions were designed to draw public attention to the environmental agenda and move environmental issues up the priority list of policy makers. The question is: What will unite us this Earth Day? Today we are well aware of the pressures placed on the environment, and we have perhaps more data and more tools to communicate data than ever before. Launched this week, a new awareness tool, the Plant Doctor Game, aims to reach more people with information about one critical environmental movement- sustainable agriculture– and resources here to help.

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