Plantwise Blog

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CABI were a sponsor with Dr Claire Beverley a guest of honour at ICPPH 2019. Photo ©CABI

CABI programmes, Plantwise and Action on Invasives, have showcased their expertise in plant protection and improving rural livelihoods to a global audience of agriculture experts and scientists at the recent International Conference on Plant Protection in Horticulture held at ICAR-Indian Institute of Horticultural Research, Bengaluru.

The Association for Advancement of Pest Management in Horticultural Ecosystems (AAPMHE) organised the event which gave an ideal platform to exchange views and share research findings on recent developments in plant protection in horticulture, and in particular gave CABI representatives the perfect opportunity to share the latest news and digital resources. As a sponsor of the event, on behalf of CABI, Dr Claire Beverley gave a guest of honour speech at the opening of the event outlining CABI’s broad range of work including: over 100 years’ work on invasive species, the Plantwise programme, biocontrol research, advising governments on invasive species policies, book publishing, and digital development.

Dr Malvika Chaudhary, Regional Coordinator for Plantwise Asia presented on Plantwise Asia as a surveillance tool, which through extension, assists countries in reporting and addressing invasive species. This aspect of Plantwise is particularly pertinent in light of the recent fall armyworm invasion in Asia. With Plantwise, the collective feedback of thousands of farmers provides powerful information about the dynamics of pest infestation in an area.

Dr Manju Thakur, Plantwise Knowledge Bank Coordinator for South Asia shared with delegates CABI’s knowledge tools – Horizon Scanning Tool and Pest Risk Analysis (PRA) Tool. These decision support tools are part of a host of digital resources developed by CABI. The Horizon Scanning Tool allows users to identify and categorize new invasive species threats to a geographic region, particularly useful for risk assessors, plant protection officers, quarantine officers, and researchers alike. The PRA tool presents users with appropriate measures for reducing risk and facilitating the movement of plants and plat products associated with a commodity pathway. Invasive species were of particular importance to participants who were also keenly interested in CABI’s Invasive Species Compendium for information on individual species.

CABI also hosted a half-day satellite symposium on ‘Transboundary threats arising from invasive pests and diseases’ chaired by Dr Claire Beverley, with Dr Chaudhary and Dr Thakur as panellists joined by Dr MA Akthar from the Bangalore Plant Quarantine station. A further ten guest speakers also delivered presentations on quarantine, invasive threats in the region, and the steps to be taken to fight and mitigate their serious effects. Plantwise Asia has been on the ground working hard to help farmers manage and control pests like banana skipper and fall armyworm. The session proved to be very popular with maximum participation and was attended by researchers, students, entrepreneurs and other private stakeholders

As head of the Plantwise Knowledge Bank, Dr Beverley, was a guest of honour at the event, delivering the closing keynote, ‘Digital tools for monitoring emerging plant health issues.’ Having chaired the satellite event, she noted the recommendations from speakers and participants and presented them in the closing session. For example, one delegate suggested that for fall armyworm, the restricted entry interval and pre-harvest interval, which sets the safe limits for farmers to enter the field after spraying pesticides and before harvest, should be worked out in an Indian context for inclusion in the Plantwise pest management decision guides (PMDGs).

Building capacity in Asia is a key part of the work CABI delivers through its programmes – Plantwise and Action on Invasives – and having the opportunity to engage with communities at events like ICPPH offers invaluable insight.

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