Suspected pesticide poisoning in India highlights importance of PPE

A woman picking cotton in a field near Nagarjuna Sagar — Andhra Pradesh, India (by By Claude Renault, via Wikimedia Commons)

On 5th October, the BBC reported that at least 50 farmers have died in the western state of Mharashtra, India, since July, due to suspected accidental pesticide poisoning (see the full article on the BBC website).

Nineteen of these deaths were reported from Yavatmal district, a major cotton growing area, where farmers use a variety of cotton which is meant to be resistant to bollworms. However, this year, despite use of this variety, crop damage caused by bollworm has been highly significant, leading to an increase in the use of pesticides.

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The many P’s of partnership

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From left: Christoph Neumann (CropLife Intl), Paul Winters (IFAD), Nick Perkins (CABI), Tin Htut (MoALF, Myanmar). Washington Otieno (CABI). Photo: ©FAO/Giuseppe Carotenuto

Peace, partnerships, projects, production, perspectives, participation and passion to name just a few. These were all squeezed into a side event at CFS44, organised by CABI, entitled ‘How Cross-Sectoral Partnerships Help Smallholders Deliver a More Food Secure Future‘.

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At loggerheads over agroforestry

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Photo: pxhere

Everyone knows forests are home to a wealth of biodiversity, with the Amazon alone hosting a quarter of global biodiversity. It is also now well established that diversity in crop production increases a farmer’s resilience to environmental stresses and shocks – from extreme weather to pests.

In terms of ending poverty, food insecurity and environmental degradation, agroforestry was positioned today at CFS44 as playing a crucial role in helping many countries meet key national development objectives epitomised under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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The chicken or the egg?

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Photo: Ruben Alexander  

“I started with just 100 chickens”, begins Mr Jean Claude Ruzibiza.

He goes on to explain how from small beginnings he has now become Managing Director of Rwanda Best, a farm producing 4,500 eggs a day and growing fruit and veg to satisfy a significant part of nearby Kigali’s hungry population.

With malnutrition in the world causing the stunting of an estimated 155 million children in 2016 the quality of food consumed is as imperative as its quantity.

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New report reveals cost of Fall Armyworm to farmers in Africa, provides recommendations for control

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CABI has published an ‘evidence note’ report on the invasive Fall Armyworm pest, showing how the caterpillar could cause maize losses costing 12 African countries up to US$6.1 billion per annum, unless control methods are urgently put in place.

Fall Armyworm: Impacts and Implications for Africa was commissioned by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) to review current evidence of the potential impact of Fall Armyworm in Africa. The document quantifies the likely economic effect on agricultural sectors in affected countries and regions if left unmanaged, and draws lessons for Africa from experience controlling the pest in the Americas.

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PRISE: speaking to the end user – pest alerts for plant doctors in Africa

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Brian Siame shows plant health conversations between plant doctors in the Zambia Telegram group (Photo: David Onyango, CABI)

After 2 hours drive, we arrive in Rufunsa District located approximately 150 kilometres east of the Zambian Capital, Lusaka. After exchanging pleasantries we settle down with Brian Siame a trained plant doctor and one of the participants in our survey to find out more about plant doctor requirements for pest alert messages.

After a brief explanation of how PRISE will work Brian was taken through the survey and its relevance to his role. “The pest forecast messages will be sent to plant doctors like you so that you can provide farmers with timely advice and help them manage local pest outbreaks,” explained Abigail Rumsey from CABI. “The alerts will take the form of short text messages, advising on predicted pest life stage and risk level, with the possibility of including the pest image to help ease identification and diagnosis”.

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