COSMIC: Workshop to develop locust management tools in China

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Grasshoppers are one of the leading insect pests affecting the agriculture industry across Inner Mongolia and the whole of China (© CABI)

Grassland habitats play an important ecological and economic role in Inner Mongolia, China. The primary threats to this ecosystem are grasshoppers and locusts, which are major pest insects across China. There are currently a range of monitoring and management strategies in place to control and reduce the damage caused by these pest species. However, successful reduction of these insect populations within the grassland habitats remains a national and regional challenge. Early identification of these pest species has been found to enable a more significant change of controlling the problem, with recent advances in technology opening several opportunities for developing this.

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Soil-dwelling worms threatening farmers’ livelihoods

By Wilson Odhiambo. Originally published on SciDev.Net.

As soil-dwelling worms threaten smallholders’ livelihoods, governments should act fast, writes Wilson Odhiambo.

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Farmer and son inspecting their cabbage field Copyright: Ollivier Girard/CIFORCC BY-NC-ND 2.0
David Magondo, a father of three from Central Kenya, has been farming for over 35 years in an activity that has helped him feed and take care of his family.

But the once dependable source of income and livelihood for the 57-year-old farmer is now a nightmare due to the soil-dwelling parasitic worms that render farming less productive.

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CABI calls for greater investment in food security programmes to help stem global rise in hunger

Field visit in Kenya (1)

CABI is today calling for greater investment in food security programmes to help stem the global rise in hunger following the publication of a UN report which says more than 820 million people worldwide are still going hungry.

The report, from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Health Organization (WHO), highlights that while the number of people who suffer from hunger has slowly increased – an estimated 2 billion people also do not have regular access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food.

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Aerobotics: Supporting precision agriculture across Africa

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Aerobotics are one of a number of companies incorporating the use of unmanned drones to promote crop pest and disease management (© Pexels)

Aerobotics, a Cape Town-based agritech startup company has recently partnered with the South African Federation of Agricultural Organisations (AgriSA) to launch a free data service for farmers using a range of spectral imaging technology.

As a company, Aerobotics specialises in farm monitoring processes using a number of modern spectral imaging technologies, including satellite and drone aerial imaging as well as incorporating AI technology to target crop pest and disease management.

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

Western Conifer Seed Bug
This month’s pest alerts include the first reports in Zakopane, Poland of the western conifer seed bug Leptoglossus occidentalis  and Sceliphron destillatorium (© 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 new species of Hexamermis Steiner parasitizing Epilachna paenulata in Argentina, the first record of the family Meenoplidae (Hemiptera: Fulgoromorpha) from Pakistan and the first reports of the western conifer seed bug Leptoglossus occidentalis in Zakopane, Poland. Continue reading

Diverse user testing groups critical for downloads and sustained usage of agricultural apps

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For poor, rural communities, agriculture is seen as a pathway out of poverty and when considering agricultural development, we often look to digital solutions; ICT for development. But how much are these technologies taken up and more importantly, actually used by their target end users?

In a recent paper, published in Journal of Agricultural & Food Information, CABI authors used the Plantwise Data Collection (PDC) App as a case study to examine the factors impacting user acceptance and behaviour when interacting with an app for agricultural extension in Kenya.

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Test your plant health knowledge with the plant doctor quiz

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>> Latest quiz just added

Plantwise plant doctors are at the heart of our plant clinic network providing advice and information to farmers, logging their data for the Plantwise Knowledge Bank, and always adapting to new outbreaks and technologies.

Think you’ve got what it takes to be a plant doctor? Take our online plant health quiz and find out! Continue reading