Rallying around plant health in Jamaica

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Plant doctor Andrea Legg showing farmers an instar of the beet armyworm during the “understand the beet to beat the beet” module of the plant health rally held on May 31, at the St. Elizabeth  Agri-Fest (Credit: Marina Young, RADA, Jamaica)

The Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), Research and Development Division (R&D) and Plant Quarantine Produce Inspection (PQPI) – all agencies of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries of Jamaica – teamed up  with CABI Plantwise to prepare the first of a series of rallies on different plant health topics. A two-day workshop was held last month with a group of trained plant doctors on how to prepare and deliver a plant health rally.

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New plant doctors trained in Pakistan

By Umair Safdar, CABI Pakistan

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Group photo of participants after training. Photo: CABI

Plant health is increasingly under threat from a range of abiotic factors – such as nutritional deficiencies, extremes in temperature, adverse soil pH, pollutants – as well as biotic factors such as fungi, bacteria, viruses, nematodes, insects and other animals. Diagnosing and managing these issues requires a new approach in training agricultural extension field staff, to ensure that they are equipped with the knowledge and tools required.

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Investing in smallholder farmers for a food-secure future

Mr. Kampinga

Smallholder farmers provide the vast majority of the world’s food supply, and ‘small-scale farming’ is the largest occupation group of economically active people, 43% of which are women.

Approximately 2 billion of the world’s poorest live in households that depend on agriculture in some form for their livelihoods, whether this is for market or subsistence. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) states that growth in agriculture in developing countries is on average almost 3 times more effective in reducing poverty (relative to non-agriculture GDP growth).

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Update: New Pest & Disease Records (08 June 18)

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Tomato leaf curl New Delhi virus has now been recorded infecting courgettes in Morroco (© Pexels)

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 Melon necrotic spot virus in Brazil, the first report of chrysanthemum stem blight and dieback (caused by Tomato spotted wilt virus) in China and the first report of Tomato leaf curl New Delhi virus infecting zucchini/courgette in Morocco.

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Making data digital in Pakistan

By Umair Safdar, Plantwise Pakistan

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Agriculture is increasingly knowledge-intensive with a continuing need to provide the right information to the people who need it most, making a real difference to their livelihoods. This ensures food security for the ever-growing population by providing the best possible remedies for crop health issues. Globally, rapid adoption of ICT tools and applications provides new avenues to share and access information.

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The Benefits of Crop Rotation for Corn and Soybean

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Corn production is one of the world’s major agriculture resources (© Oticki)

Many farmers who grow soybean and corn also integrate crop rotation strategies to avoid the continuous corn yield cost, but scientists from the US have given a new reason to use crop rotation. Evidence suggests that rotating crops increases yield and lowers greenhouse gas emissions compared to monoculture corn or soybean.

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Fostering knowledge and confidence to feed more

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Valli Kupuswamy with her grand-daughter, Pouvisha, in their kitchen. Photo: Sanjit Das/Panos

Globally, an estimated 815 million people go hungry each day. Without access to healthy food, they are chronically undernourished. Meanwhile, in spite of advances in agricultural technology, approximately 40% of the food grown annually in rural communities is lost to pests and diseases. People living with persistent hunger need and deserve a sustainable solution based on self-reliance. Reducing the losses caused by plant health problems by just 1% could mean feeding millions more.

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