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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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)

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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

CABI collaborates on new research which suggests crop pests more widespread than previously known

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Insects and diseases that damage crops are probably present in many places thought to be free of them, new research shows.

Pests that have not been reported in a certain area are usually assumed to be absent, but analysis by the University of Exeter shows many pests are “currently unobserved, but probably present” (a likelihood of more than 75%).

The study identified large numbers of pests in this category in China, India, southern Brazil and some countries of the former USSR.

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Farmers in Malawi to benefit from space-age technology in fight against devastating crop pests

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Farmers await for plant health advice at a plant clinic in Lilongwe, Malawi

Farmers in Malawi are the latest to benefit from a CABI-led consortium, funded by the UK Space Agency, which is providing a Pest Risk Information Service (PRISE) to fight pest outbreaks that could devastate crops and livelihoods across the country.

The service, which uses state-of-the-art technology to help inform farmers in sub-Saharan Africa – including Zambia, Ghana and Kenya where it is currently operating – gives farmers invaluable information to help them manage pests such as the fall armyworm that is already having a major impact in Africa and South East Asia.

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Plantwise helps with managing the invasive Fall Armyworm in Vietnam

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A plant doctor inspects a farmer’s damaged maize at a recent plant clinic in Vietnam

During a recent visit to a plant clinic session in Vinh Phuc, Vietnam, first-hand evidence of this devastating invasive pest was shown to visiting CABI staff. A 76-year-old farmer, Madam Nguyen Thi Nam brought along damaged maize plant to seek advice from the plant doctor, Mrs Dang Thi Quynh Nga.

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Update: New Pest & Disease Records (07 June 2019)

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This month’s pest alerts include a report on Bursaphelenchus michalskii n. and its association with the large elm bark beetle and Dutch elm disease (© 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 the first report of a novel alphapartitivirus in Rhizoctonia oryzae-sativae, the causal agent of aggregate sheath spot disease of rice; a report on Bursaphelenchus rockyi sp. in peat moss in Russia and a report on Bursaphelenchus michalskii n. on large elm bark beetles and its association with Dutch elm disease. Continue reading