CABI scientists from its centres in India and Switzerland joined forces with colleagues from the Koppert Foundation to deliver a two-day training on using biological controls as part of an Integrated Pest Management approach to fighting crop pests and diseases.
Koppert, who specialises in the manufacture of bio-based products globally, decided to support the course development and implementation of the training to 22 Plantwise plant doctors in India which was delivered by CABI’s Dr Malvika Chaudhary and Dr Manfred Grossrieder with support from Koppert India.
Those that participated in the course were chosen from selected extension staff who have already been trained as plant doctors within the Plantwise programme and who are actively running plant clinics with the aim to improve plant doctors’ knowledge of biocontrol.
Dr Chaudhary said, “The training focused on better understanding the non-target effects of chemical pesticides on the ecosystem, on recognising natural enemies in the field using discovery learning approaches and on measures for the conservation of existing natural enemies as well as the correct application of biological control products.
“The training curriculum and materials were developed by CABI and Koppert in order to address the low frequency of recommendations for biologically-based plant protection measures considering the availability of products registered for use in the country.
“It is hoped that the plant doctors would encourage the use of more biocontrol agents in their recommendations to farmers who need help to tackle pests and diseases on their crops.”
As part of the training, a discovery learning approach was adopted for knowledge transfer, trying to maximise the time spent on field and classroom exercises. The positive feedback received about the training course, as well as evidence of very motivated and active participants over the training days, were good indicators that the content of knowledge transfer was appropriate and that the proposed topics are of a high relevance for the plant doctors as well as extension specialists in general.
Plantwise is a global programme led by CABI, which helps farmers lose less of what they grow to plant health problems. Working closely with national agricultural advisory services, Plantwise have established a global plant clinic network, run by trained plant doctors, where farmers can find practical plant health advice. Plant clinics work just like clinics for human health: farmers visit with samples of their crops, and plant doctors diagnose the problem and make science-based recommendations on ways to manage it. In India, there are currently 82 plant clinics and 140 plant doctors operating across the country.
For more information about future training opportunities please contact Dr Malvika Chaudhary firstname.lastname@example.org
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