Improving resistance of Kenya’s cabbage and kale crops to TuMV disease

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Farmer tending to her crop of kale. Photo: C. Nellist

A team of international scientists from CABI, the Kenyan Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO), NIAB EMR (UK), University of Warwick (UK) and Syngenta (Netherlands) are seeking to improve the resistance of Kenya’s cabbage and kale crops to Turnip mosaic virus (TuMV).

In the distantly-related Chinese cabbage (Brassica rapa), a potentially durable TuMV disease resistance trait was identified by Professor John Walsh at the University of Warwick, while work by Dr Charlotte Nellist, of NIAB EMR, UK, Dr Bill Briggs, of Syngenta, and Prof Walsh elucidated the novel mechanism of TuMV resistance.

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The history of cultivating citrus

The CABI Blog

By L Gene Albrigo

Citrus is one of the most important exported fruit crops. Large plantings in countries bordering latitudes 20 south and north and in-between provide fresh and processed citrus for the more populated northern European and American countries as well as other large populations around the world. Citrus has also been a cultivated crop in southeast Asia for thousands of years. Its genetics are unique in that stable hybrids naturally propagated through polyembryony have been recognized as species. New molecular techniques have clearly elucidated the true genetic background of citrus.

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Indian NGO supports farmers by using greenhouse agriculture

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Kheyti is promoting the use of greenhouses as an alternative to traditional open-field agricultural practices, with the benefits including protection from changing weather conditions and crop pest and diseases (© Pexels)

In the south Indian region of Hyderabad, a non-profit called Kheyti has developed an affordable solution to income stability and climate-resilient crop production for smallholder farmers and SMEs (small and medium enterprises) – greenhouses.

The organisation founders spent countless hours meeting with Indian farmers to understand the range of issues threatening farming communities. “When we bucket the problems, there are two broad challenges: climate-based risks like heat, rain and pests – and distribution-based risks like poor linkages to inputs, finance, knowledge and markets,” said Sathya Raghu Mokkapati, one of Keyti’s co-founders.

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Update: New Pest & Disease Records (06 September 2019)

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This month’s pest alerts include a report on a new root-knot nematode species parasitizing Robusta coffee in Vietnam (© Pexels)

We’ve selected a few of the latest new geographic, host and species records for plant pests and diseases from CAB Abstracts. Records this month include a report on a new root-knot nematode parasite on coffee in Vietnam, a report on a new variant of the moth Cyana peregrina Walker in India and a report on new invasive leafhopper and planthopper species in the Netherlands. Continue reading

Plantwise releases two educational games for plant doctors

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The use of digital devices such as smartphones and tablets to access and share information is rapidly expanding in all areas of our lives, and the agricultural sector is no different. Plantwise is already making use of digital devices, especially in rural areas of the world. Plant doctors, using smart phones and tablets not only have access to up-to-date information on pests and diseases but also a quick and convenient means by which to collect and share information and images on agricultural problems. The tablets also offer a way of delivering information and training to plant doctors, and Plantwise has been leading the way in developing novel ways to make training more fun and engaging.

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‘$10bn to feed 10 billion by 2050’, CABI tells AGRF

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CABI has told the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) 2019 that investment in agritech needs to double to at least $10bn a year if the world’s smallholder farmers are to help feed a global population expected to reach 10 billion by 2050.

Dr Dennis Rangi, CABI’s Director General, Development, speaking as part of a panel discussion on the subject of digital innovations to strengthen the resilience for smallholders in African food systems, said the financial burden must be met by the private sector if global food security is to be ensured and world poverty and hunger eradicated.

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A new AI-powered app scans banana crops for early signs of disease

By Emma Bryce. Reblogged from Anthropocene.

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The banana is the world’s most popular fruit: we consume 100 billion of them a year. And yet, their future is threatened by a spate of diseases that are ravaging crops worldwide. Now, researchers have developed a tool to tackle these silent killers: an artificially-intelligent smartphone app that can scan banana plants for early signs of infection, and alert farmers before it takes hold on their crops.

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