By Shenggen Fan, Sivan Yosef, and Rajul Pandya-Lorch
Agriculture is the single most important innovation in human history. Over the course of thousands of years, it has staved off hunger, allowed populations to leave their hunter-gatherer lives behind, and freed up time for other pursuits (like inventing writing and the wheel!) that have propelled societies forward. As recently as the 1970s the Green Revolution – a global push to improve and produce more wheat and rice – brought India back from the brink of mass famine. The Green Revolution improved the lives of one billion people around the world. This number is all the more impressive when considering that the world population was four billion at the time.
A global push to produce more rice brought India back from the brink of famine in the 1970s.
The successes of smallholder farmers in Nepal, Uganda and Kenya – thanks to help from CABI – have become the focus of the Plantwise Impact Story Competition won by three extension workers who helped them combat crop pests and diseases.
Debraj Adhikari, a Senior Plant Protection Officer from Nepal, plant doctor Mubunga Joshua from Uganda and John Mutisya Kimeu also a plant doctor, from Kenya have all been awarded a tablet computer for their accounts of farmers who have reaped increases in yield as a result of intervention from Plantwise plant clinics.
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 grapevine yellow speckle viroid-2 infecting grapevines, the first report of hop stunt viroid infecting strawberries in China and the first report of bean yellow mosaic virus infecting Tropaeolum maius in Hawaii. Continue reading →
The demise of the banana has been in the news regularly since a 2003 article in The New Scientist suggested that the crop may be extinct within 10 years. However, recent data indicate that between 2000 and 2017, global production of bananas grew at a compound annual rate of 3.2%, reaching a record of 114 million tonnes in 2017, up from around 67 million tonnes in 2000. Not bad for a crop that was supposedly on its death bed!
Cavendish cultivar with no functional leaves in a plantation in Costa Rica after being left unprotected from Pseudocerscospora fijienis (photo: M. Sanchez and M Guzman, CORBANA)
With increasing numbers of wildfire disasters globally, research has shown that pollutants released from wildfires can affect crops, forests and other vegetation hundreds of kilometers downwind from the source.
As global temperatures increase, moisture and precipitation levels change, and dry areas becoming drier, the likelihood of droughts and prolonged wildfire seasons are increasing.These exacerbated conditions are also likely to cause more intense and prolonged burning.
Crop pest: The cabbage stem flea beetle – Psylliodes chrysocephalus
By 2050 there could be as many as 10 billion mouths to feed across the world. This is now a much-repeated fact, as is the growing demand for sustainable produce with reduced chemical inputs and environmental impact. In short, there is a need to produce more and more food, with fewer and fewer inputs to protect the environment, increase productivity and minimise costs.
This is where CHAP (Crop Health and Protection), based at Sand Hutton near York, one of the Government’s four Agri-Tech Centres, supported by Innovate UK, comes in. It has been charged with the task of finding scientific and technological solutions to the practical problems facing growers. Working with its 12 Partners, one of which is CABI working from its laboratories based in Egham in Surrey, its priority is to develop and trial solutions to transform crop production…
Rice has been a staple food crop for millions of people for hundreds of years. This important crop is now a major part of 20% of the world’s population, with it being grown on every continent except Antarctica.
Whilst rice is known to be an important part of our diet, recently published research has shown how rice can be used in a unique way; to clean chemical runoff from farms before it can enter local water sources.