A two day training on Plant Disease Diagnosis was conducted in the Department of Food, Faculty of Food and Agriculture, The University of the West Indies, St Augustine from July 13 to 14 to agricultural extension officers of Trinidad and Tobago.
The training was organised under the auspices of The UWI-RDI (Research Development Impact) funded project on ‘Promoting Agriculturally Important Microorganisms to Address the Challenges in Food Safety and Food Security in the Caribbean”. The training was attended by 23 agricultural extension officers of Trinidad and Tobago representing seven counties [St George, St David, St Andrew, County Caroni, Nariva/Mayaro, St Patrick West, County Victoria] of North Regional Administration and South Regional Administration, Research Division Central Experiment Station, Extension Training and Information Services Division and Agricultural Division of Tobago. During the training programme, the agricultural extension officers were trained to diagnose the various vegetable diseases caused by fungi, bacteria, viruses based on the symptom expressed in roots, stems, vascular tissues, leaves and fruits.
A loud booming voice on a megaphone breaks the silence in the farming village of Kaptum centre..”Akwaa! lo mite kapurto nyepo ceyec cepo nyepokaptisyet!”, (come attend a plant health rally by ministry of agriculture officials). Farmers quickly gather and listen attentively as Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) officials conduct the plant health rally.After the rally, we meet Betty Seyekwo, a hardworking farmer and mother of seven children living in Kapchorwa-Uganda. Last season, she planted beans in her 2 acre farm and harvested 13 bags. This was a decline from the previous season when she harvested 20 bags. Before changing crops to beans, Betty was predominantly a maize farmer until a strange disease wiped out her entire crop.
Betty Seyekwo (right) confers with a colleague during the plant health rally
Betty Seyekwo studies a pesticide malpractice poster after the plant health rally
Farmer interviews being conducted after the plant health rally
Plantwise is being implemented and coordinated in Brazil by EMBRAPA in collaboration with Empaer and the local government of Mato Grosso. Last year, faculty members from the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar) at Lagoa do Sino campus, in Buri, São Paulo State, expressed their interest in incorporating the plant clinics approach into their extension services in order to provide technical assistance to the small farmers concentrated in that region, and expand the Plantwise programme to the São Paulo state. UFSCar is a higher-public education institution that has been recognized for the quality of their students and their research, as well as for the outreach to farmers through extension activities. Established in a 643 hectares farm, the UFSCar campus at Lagoa do Sino opened in 2011 and is one of the four campuses that make up the UFSCar. The region where UFSCar at Lagoa do Sino is located is characterized for large-industrialized farming operations as well as small family-owned farming operations.
Dr Yelitza Colmenarez and José Gómez represented the Plantwise programme in a field day organized by the Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária (EMBRAPA: Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation). EMBRAPA is an affiliated institution to the Ministry of Agriculture, devoted to the advancement of Brazilian agriculture through technology. The event was hosted by EMBRAPA’s agro-silviculture unit in Sinop, Mato Grosso on Friday April 15 and had the participation of approximately 650 people.
Brasso Secco is a pristine environment located in the Northern Range of Trinidad in close proximity to the world famous Asa Wright Nature Centre. This farming community, among others, is nestled deep in the bosom of the of the Northern Range where approximately 300 family farms depend on Christophene production for their economic survival and well-being. Agriculture, and in particular “Christo” as the crop is fondly called, is the main source of income to more than 75% of them. Any major pest or disease could be devastating not only to the livelihood of these families, but also to the country’s environment if its control results in the inappropriate use of pesticides.
An outbreak of Gummy Stem Blight occurred 11 years ago and the disease is now endemic, affecting 100 percent of farms. Could an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategy be adopted to control this fungal disease and to protect the livelihoods of farmers while protecting this pristine environment? Continue reading →
In 2014, Holly alerted our blog followers to the Plantwise factsheet library app, aimed to provide country extension workers with a portable electronic library of pest management factsheets. Since then, there have been in excess of 65,000 sessions of the app by our global users.Continue reading →
The latest episode of the Tech4agri web series focuses on a number of farmers who attended Plantwise plant clinics in Trinidad and Tobago and received follow-up visits from Plantwise and NAMDEVCO extension workers.
As CABI’s Naitram Ramnanan explains: “We decided to follow up by visiting the farmer in the field and then realised that it was a pervasive problem in the christophene-growing areas of the country.” Plantwise is now working with a group of christophene [chayote] farmers around Brasso Seco to develop sustainable solutions to the pests and diseases affecting their crops.