E-plant clinics pilot launched in Bangladesh

Plantwise programme was launched in Bangladesh with Plant Protection Wing (PPW), Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) in 2015 after signing MOU with Ministry of Agriculture and Economic Relations Division of Ministry of Finance. The programme initially started with establishment of 10 plant clinics in 5 districts and is gradually scaled up to 30 plant clinics in 10 districts now.  24 July marked the launch of e plant clinics pilot in Bangladesh with the training of 10 plant doctors. In order to ensure smooth data flow from plant clinics and test new innovative ICT technologies in the ongoing plant clinic approach, tablets were distributed to the plant doctors for data collection. The program was inaugurated by Dr Amitav Das, Director (PPW), Md. Rezaul Islam, Deputy Director (IPM) and Arefur Rahaman (PPW) by distributing tablets to the participants.  10 active plant doctors who were regularly recording and submitting clinic data were chosen for this e plant clinic training.

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Expanding our e-plant clinic network in Sri Lanka

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E-Crop Clinic Training Locations since 2015

The Sri Lankan e-plant clinic pilot, which launched in 2015 at 10 clinics in Central Province, was extremely successful in minimizing the time as well as workload of plant doctors performing data management tasks. As a result of these and various other benefits established over the last 2 years, the e-plant clinic network has been scaled up to Northern, Eastern and Western Provinces with around 66 e-plant clinics in operation, and over 86 plant doctors trained to date. The target is to have 140 e-plant clinics across Sri Lanka by the end of the year.

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Our favourite recipes – India

Baingan Bharta
Photo credit: http://www.sanjeevkapoor.com

As part of our new mini-series, “Our favourite recipes”, here is the next delicious recipe for you to try from India. Baingan Bharta (Roasted mashed brinjals cooked with onions, tomatoes, green chillies and ginger) is one of the most popular dishes in India. Brinjal (aubergine/eggplant) is an important ingredient of the recipe.

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Plantwise: connecting smallholders to knowledge through ICT interventions

Plant doctor showing a specimen on his screen through a USB microscope in Balkheda plant clinic. Photo: MSSRF
Plant doctor showing a specimen through a USB microscope in Balkheda plant clinic. Photo courtesy: MSSRF

The emergence of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in the last decade has opened new avenues in knowledge management that could play important roles in meeting the prevailing challenges related to sharing, exchanging and disseminating knowledge and technologies. The types of ICT-enabled services are capable of improving the capacity and livelihoods of poor smallholders are growing quickly.

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How plant clinics helped a paddy farmer in Tamil Nadu, India

Guest blog contributed by MSSRF

Plant clinic in Chennai; photo courtesy of MSSRF

Mr Natarajan and his family farm 5 acres of irrigated land in Neduvasal village in Pudukkottai District, Tamil Nadu. Like his father before him, he cultivates paddy, ground nut and pulses during the Kharif, Rabi and summer seasons. He has been growing BPT 5204 paddy, a super fine Ponni variety during the Samba season (October-January).  This particular variety fetches a good price at market but is prone to various pests and diseases. During the Rabi season of 2014 there was outbreak of stem borer, causing visible symptoms. The pesticides recommended by the local agro-input dealer were ineffective and expensive. Mr Natarajan was worried whether he would get a profitable yield.

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Innovative Digital Applications for Sustainable Development – Eighth GCRA International Conference at University of Agricultural Sciences, Bengaluru

8th GCRA

It is evident that the development in the field of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and digital applications plays pivotal role in present knowledge based economies. Recently, I attended an ICT focussed international conference with my colleague from D2F in Bengaluru which was organised by UAS Bengaluru and GCRA, Australia from 5th-7th January, 2016 on “Innovative Digital Applications for Sustainable Development” at UAS Bengaluru. University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS), Bengaluru has played a major role in developing technologies and extension methodologies and for the sustainable development of the rural communities in Karnataka. The Global Communication Research Association (GCRA), Australia has been providing an academic forum for the past 14 years and also encouraging development of research in underrepresented geographical areas of the globe by focusing their areas of interest.

The conference aimed to facilitate effective dialogue among the researchers, communication specialists, extension professionals and young students in these disciplines for consolidating the strategies to achieve sustainable development through digital applications.

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Ecological Engineering Approach for Rice Pest Management-Need to Popularise its Advantages

           Example of Ecological engineering in Vietnam (Photo credit: Dr HV Chien)

The rice ecosystems are inhabited by more than 100 species of insects. Twenty of them can cause potential economic losses. With the change in the climatic factors and modern cultural practices adopted for production a drastic change has been caused in the pest scenario in the recent past. Besides stem borer, gall midge, brown plant hopper and green leafhopper which were the major problems in past, several other relatively minor pests such as leaf folder, armyworms, cut worms etc. have gained importance. In a study conducted by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), it was found that, on average, farmers lose 37% of their rice yield to pests and diseases, and that these losses can range between 24% and 41% depending on the production situation (http://irri.org). All the pests are generally kept under check by their natural enemies (parasitoids and predators) by feeding on them. The food web of their relationships prevents the explosion of their populations and keeps them under economic thresholds mimimising the pesticide use.

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