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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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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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

A plant doctor inspects a farmer's damaged maize crop in Vietnam
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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World Food Prize winner’s vision sown in CABI-led Plantwise programme in Myanmar

Phathril Akradejvichit
World Food Prize Laureate for 2019 Simon N. Groot, founder of East-West Seed, helped train CABI Plantwise plant doctors in Myanmar so farmers can grow more and lose less to pests and diseases (Photo: World Food Prize).

Simon N. Groot, the Dutch founder of East-West Seed, has won the World Food Prize 2019 for empowering millions of smallholder farmers in more than 60 countries earn greater incomes through enhanced vegetable production.

This includes his company – under the East-West Seed Knowledge Transfer (EWS-KT) – working with the CABI-led Plantwise programme to train Myanmar’s first group of plant doctors who are helping farmers reduce their losses by diagnosing problems with their crops. East-West Seed also provided their expertise to CABI through a number of external factsheets provided for the Plantwise Knowledge Bank.

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