The Plantwise Annual Report is an update on the programme, listing key highlights along with details on progress, lessons learned and next steps for each of the three programme components: Plant Health Systems Development, the Knowledge Bank and Monitoring & Evaluation.
Highlights include (cumulative numbers):
9.8 million farmers have been reached directly and indirectly through plant clinics, plant health rallies, and mass extension campaigns;
6,787 agricultural extension staff have been trained as plant doctors, with local trainers responsible for over half of the training workshops;
2,292 plant clinics have been established, 432 of which are equipped with tablet computers.
Deputy Provincial Director, Mr. T. Yogeswaran uses megaphone to make announcement
Plant doctors dissect a sample and discuss with farmer for diagnosing the issue.
Farmers are waiting in queue to get advice from plant doctors
Plant doctor uses tablet to enter the data
Plant doctors dissect a sample for diagnosis
The plant doctor team is busy in advising the farmers on their plant health problems.
It is generally accepted that early morning is the best time to learn and retain new information. As the saying goes: “the early bird gets the worm.” This long-held belief is being applied in Vavuniya, Sri Lanka, where plant clinics are now conducted at the crack of dawn. The plant clinics are a platform for adult learning, where farmers are taught to follow Integrated Crop Management (ICM) principles to address crop health issues.
New research by CABI reveals that just five invasive alien species are causing US$0.9 – 1.1 billion in economic losses to smallholder farmers across six eastern African countries each year, equating to 1.8% – 2.2% of total agricultural GDP for the region. These losses are expected to grow to $1.0 – 1.2 billion per year over the next 5-10 years, highlighting the urgent need for coordinated responses at regional, national and international levels.
New research published in the open-access journal Global Food Security estimates the alarming level of economic losses suffered by smallholder farmers each year in eastern Africa, to a handful of species that have become damaging crop pests since their introduction to the region. These few invasive species can have devastating impacts on important staples such as maize, but also high-value crops including tomatoes, peas and green beans.
On the 6 of March 2017, the Honourable Minister of Agriculture Land and Fisheries of Trinidad and Tobago, Mr Clarence Rambharat, and his team met with CABI Plantwise Regional Coordinator, Dr. Yelitza Colmenarez and with the USDA representative for the Caribbean Mr. Wayne De Chi , in order to review and restructure Plantwise activities in the country. “Food security is one of our national priority areas and it’s important to keep supporting the Plantwise activities in the country in order to ensure farmers are getting the technical advice needed”, the Minister said.
All farmers are affected by pests and diseases attacking their crops, but smallholder farmers and their dependents in low- and middle-income countries are disproportionately affected. To put it in perspective, there are about 500 million smallholder farmers worldwide who feed about 70% of the world’s population. When you cultivate less than a hectare (2.5 acres) of land and rely on your crops for both sustenance and income, fighting pests can become a battle for life and death. International trade and climate change are exacerbating the problem by altering and accelerating the spread of crop pests.
Occasionally, when a particularly destructive pest surfaces, it can make headline news. Last year it was reported that the tomato leaf miner moth…
Bond, a UK association promoting, supporting and representing the work of international development organisations, announced the CABI-led Plantwise programme as the joint winner of its 2017 Innovation Award. The award showcases organisations, coalitions or initiatives that are taking inventive approaches as they chart a course through a complex and changing external environment in international development.
In developing regions where pest and disease outbreaks and the impact of climate change is most devastating, early warning systems are required to build resilience into agricultural production. These early warning systems cannot operate in a void, but proves effective when incorporated within a national policy framework that can support a holistic plant health system approach.
In Myanmar, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation (MOALI) has identified that its efforts to intensifying and diversifying agricultural production is being challenged by increasing pesticide use, illegal importation of pesticides, introduction of invasive species and slow response to disease and pest outbreaks. These issues have served as constraints to building a strong national plant health system as they undermine the resilience of millions of smallholder farmer who are key stakeholders in the agricultural sector.