Is It Time for Genetically Modified Bananas in Uganda?

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Banana plantation (© CABI)

Uganda is the world’s second largest producer of banana crop, with individuals consuming around 1.5 pounds of banana every day. Due to this major need for the success of banana crops within the country, plant pests and diseases are ever more threatening.

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Taking on Fall Armyworm in Africa: The search for effective natural enemies

Written by Ivan Rwomushana. Reblogged from CABI’s Invasives Blog.

The Fall Armyworm (FAW), Spodoptera frugiperda has emerged as a serious threat to food security for millions of smallholder producers in Africa due to its rapid spread across the continent and extensive damage to staple cereals. At the last count, at least 28 countries were reported to be affected by the pest in Africa.

via Taking on Fall Armyworm in Africa: The search for effective natural enemies — The Invasives Blog

Lead Battery Soil Contamination in Africa and the Implications on Plant and Human Health

Globally, battery manufacturing and recycling plants have been identified as the major sources of soil lead contamination that have resulted in lead exposure to neighbouring communities via the accumulation of lead within plants.

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Masai child next to Opuntia stricta (© CABI)

Lead is naturally found in soil in relatively low concentrations (10-50 mg/kg) in which it is taken up by plants via the roots and accumulates within root cells as lead is used in low levels by plants. Excessive lead concentrations found within plants have been shown to reduce the functionality of morphological, biochemical and physiological functions as well as promoting deleterious effects. For more detailed information on the effects of lead on plant health, see here.

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Update: New Pest & Disease Records (5 Jan 18)

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Invasive Golden apple snail (Pomacea canaliculata) eggs on freshwater aquatic plant (© Dr. Raju Kasambe)

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 first report of the golden apple snail (Pomacea canaliculata) in Iraq, the first report of Ceratocephalus falcatus smut caused by Urocystis eranthidis and a new species of thrip (Genus: Odontothrips) in China. Continue reading

Fall Armyworm: A new collaboration to disseminate best management practices to farmers

From the 13th to the 15th of November 2017, USAID and CIMMYT held a Regional Training and Awareness Generation Workshop on Fall Armyworm Pest Management for Eastern Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Participants from 11 countries attended the workshop to discuss short, medium and long term strategies to control Fall Armyworm in Africa. Following its accidental introduction into West Africa, the pest has spread quickly to the whole continent. The current and predicted yield loss to maize from FAW over the 2017-2018 season in Sub-Saharan Africa is estimated to reach US$ 3 billion.

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Fall armyworm caterpillar from ICIPE rearing facilities (Photo credit: Thomas Wallace, Africa Lead)

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Triple attack on bananas could devastate $35bn global industry

The Invasives Blog

Banana_Pests_spread_animationCABI scientists have today raised concerns that an attack on the world’s banana production is worse than first feared, with a perfect storm of three pests having the potential to decimate around $35 billion worth of crops.

Biosecurity experts at CABI believe the effects of the fungus known as Panama disease tropical race 4 (TR4), together with the Banana Bunchy Top Virus (BBTV) and the Banana Skipper butterfly (Erionota spp), could destroy banana plantations across Asia, Africa and Latin America. There are currently no cultivars resistant to these three threats.

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