1000 new ‘Plant Doctors’ trained in Karnataka

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Nearly 1000 farmers in Karnataka are set to be trained as ‘Plant Doctors’ in a major programme funded by the Karnataka State Department of Agriculture and Bio-Control Research Laboratories (BCRL), part of Pest Control India Ltd. (PCI), and supported by CABI. By the end of March 2011 there will be enough trained plant health workers…
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California on alert against citrus psyllid

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 The detection of the Asian citrus psyllid (Diaphorina citri) in a citrus grove in Ventura County, California, has set alarm bells ringing in the Californian citrus industry, and led to the imposition of a quarantine in the County just as the citrus harvest was getting under way. The psyllid, now found throughout Florida and present…
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How will climate change affect plant health?

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As weather patterns shift around the world due to changing climates, so this brings new challenges to crop protection. Pests and diseases can become a problem in new areas, or appear earlier, making it necessary to change crop protection practices. Conversely, some pests and diseases may become less of a problem as conditions become less…
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Would you miss the mistletoe?

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I was thinking “what shall I write about in my Christmas blog?” I then remembered a news item I heard in one of the BBC radio stations about the mistletoe being under threat of disappearing from our landscape. I searched for the news item in their news webpage and found it still there. The article…
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Plantwise data collection trial

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The trial of data collection from various plant clinics has been launched in Kenya and Uganda. The giving of advice to small holder farmers and the collection of data are both integral parts of the Plantwise program. The farmers wants to know how to address the problem with their crop whereas the data is of…
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NZ kiwifruits hit by bacterial canker

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Biosecurity New Zealand announced on Saturday that samples of New Zealand pollen have tested positive for the bacterial kiwifruit disease, Pseudomonas syringae pv. actinidiae (Psa). Results indicate that Psa may have been present in New Zealand for a number of years. The confirmation of Psa in New Zealand comes as a huge blow to the…
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Can science feed the world?

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This was the question posed by Nature’s Special recently. In other words, how can we feed the Earth’s growing population in such a way that no-one goes hungry and nature is left with some land and water of its own? Their answer can be broadly summed up by what Britain’s Royal Society call “sustainable intensification…
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Afghan opium harvest halved by blight

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A mysterious disease is blighting Afghan opium poppy (Papaver somniferum) destroying nearly half of the opium harvest in 2010, according to a report published in September by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. Production in 2010 was at its lowest level since 2003, estimated at 3,600 tonnes – a 48% decrease from 6,900 tonnes…
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Sri Lankan coconut farmers predict yields for future climates

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Millions of people in the tropics depend on coconuts for food, raw materials and livelihood. Coconuts are also a high value commercial crop. But like any crop, coconuts are at risk of drought and other prolonged events. By using climate science and better agricultural forecast models, the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI)…
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