PRISE Quarterly progress report – June 2017

maize stalk borer
Maize Stalk Borer- Copyright CABI

PRISE inception workshops were held in Kenya, Ghana, and Zambia in March 2017. In the workshops it was recognised  by partners that PRISE is a five year project and that the full benefits will only be fully available at the end. However to ensure that we deliver value in the interim we asked partners to prioritise the order in which we should focus on users, crops and pests. Each year a new release of PRISE will incorporate more users, crops and pests driven by partner’s prioritisation of which to tackle first.

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Frosty Pod Rot announced on Caribbean Cocoa

Frosty Pod Rot, a potentially devastating disease of cocoa caused by the fungus Moniliophthora roreri, has been reported for the first time in Jamaica.  First discovered in Ecuador in 1917, Frosty Pod Rot has since spread to many other Latin American countries including Colombia, Venezuela, Panama, Costa Rica, Peru, Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala. Until now, countries in the Caribbean have remained free of the disease. Frosty Pod Rot can be spread rapidly by wind, water and humans due to the production of millions of white, powdery spores on the pod surface that give the ‘frosty’ appearance. Yield losses are dependent on a number of factors, including plantation age, pod maturity, management practice, proximity to other infected plantations and weather conditions. In severe cases, the entire cocoa crop can be destroyed.cocoa-pod-with-frosty-pod-rot_for-cabi_org

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Cassava viruses threaten food security

Written by Joao Junior, Plantwise Knowledge Bank Intern.

Cassava blog JJ.jpg
Cassava farmer. Copyright CABI.

Known as the poor people’s crop, cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) is one of the most important subsistence crops in Africa, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and West Africa being consumed fresh, cooked or processed. It is estimated that cassava contributes to nearly 40% of the total daily calories consumed by poor smallholders in marginal and sub-marginal areas. The significant contribution to daily calories is due to its efficient production and storage of starch on the roots.

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Plant doctors share their experience of e-plant clinics

Plantwise held an e-plant clinics review workshop on September 8th-9th in Machakos, Kenya. This workshop brought together the 30 plant doctors who, with funds from Dow AgroSciences, are now equipped with tablets and have been running e-plant clinics since their training in June 2015. The plant doctors are using the tablets in their clinics to access a wide range of plant health resources, send recommendations to farmers via SMS and to collect and submit data electronically.

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A Leap from an ‘Analogue’ to a Digital Platform: The Story of Kenyan Plant Doctors

A blog written by Willis Ochilo

The stage is set and all the participants are sitting. Beneath the veneer of silence that pervades the workshop room are deep-seated fears. And it does not take long for the same to come out to the fore.

Plant doctor - farmer role play during the training workshop
Plant doctor – farmer role play during the training workshop

The setting is in Maanzoni Lodge in Machakos County. Here, the plant doctors have gathered to be trained in the use of tablet computers.

The participants, 17 in number, come from 8 different counties. They are the second of the two groups being trained this week. Unlike the first group, this group has 8 female plant doctors while the previous one had 3 female out of 14 plant doctors.

Finally! The ice is broken and the first salvo thrown. Lucy Njiru, a plant doctor from Embu County masters the courage to voice her fear. Her fear revolves around the fact; it will be her first time to handle a tablet. “Will I be able to handle the device?” she asks in a subdued voice. And to that, almost in sync, the others start to whizz suggesting they are all grappling with the same fear.

Many before them had raised similar concerns at the start of such workshops. In fact, so accustomed were the facilitators to that question, that it did not take much reflection for them to assure her. “At the end of the two days, you will be a pro,” said one of the facilitators to Lucy.  Continue reading

Take a look at SciDev.Net’s scoop on what Plantwise is doing with mobile

Copyright Cabi, Credit Holly Wright
Copyright Cabi, Credit Holly Wright

SciDev.Net, an online magazine aiming to ‘bring science and development together through news and analysis’, covers the work that Plantwise are doing with mobile in Kenya. It reports on how Plantwise’s mobile initiative is using new technologies to deliver good scientific information to agricultural extension workers in developing countries. This information aims to assist extension workers as they advice farmers how to prevent crop losses.

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