Update: New Pest & Disease Records (16 May 18)

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Plum pox virus (PPV) causes a dramatic decrease in fruit yield and quality (© Scott Bauer, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Bugwood.org)

We’ve selected a few of the latest new geographic, host and species records for plant pests and diseases from CAB Abstracts. Records this fortnight include the first report of plum pox virus (PPV) in Japan, the first report of white blister rust disease caused by Albugo occidentalis on spinach in Turkey and the first report of orange rust on sugarcane caused by Puccinia kuehnii in Guyana.

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EU ban on bee-killing insecticides

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Bee species are particularly affected by the use of insecticides within the agriculture sector (© Pexels)

The world’s most widely used group of insecticides will be banned from all fields within the next six months by the European Union. The use of neonicotinoids will be prevented in any manner with the aim of protecting important insect pollinators such as honeybees which are known to be vital for global crop pollination.

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Drought Resistance Hormone Discovered in Plants

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Drought affects two-thirds of Sub-Saharan Africa and over 65% of its population (© Pexels)

Researchers at the RIKEN Centre of Sustainable Resource Science (CSRS) in Japan have discovered a hormone linked to the stimulation of drought-resistant characteristics in plants.

Published in the journal Nature earlier this month, the study shows how the peptide CLE25 is synthesised in the roots of plants when under stress due to a lack of water in the soil, resulting in the closing of pores (stomata) in the leaf surfaces.

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Nuclear Development in Zambia: A Positive for Environmental Protection?

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A rural nuclear power plant (© Pexels).

The agriculture sector in Zambia employs around half of the country’s labour force and provides the largest source of employment opportunities for rural women. However, although the sector contributes 6.5% GDP and 9.6% of the national export earnings, the industry is one of the most under-developed in the country.

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CABI joins Koppert to reduce the reliance on chemical use in pest management in Kenya

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CABI has initiated activities with Koppert Biological Systems to increase the fight against crop pests and diseases which threaten the food security and livelihoods of thousands of farmers and their families in Kenya.

CABI has signed a collaboration agreement with Koppert to deliver more Plantwise plant doctor training in Kenya, with funding from the Koppert Foundation. This includes plans to further raise the awareness and promotion of biocontrol methods as part of integrated pest management (IPM) advice given to farmers.

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Why African farmers should balance pesticides with other control methods

By Esther Ndumi Ngumbi. Reblogged from The Conversation.

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Insects are constantly adapting to methods used to control them. Shutterstock/Alf Ribeiro

Insect pests cause almost half of the crop losses in Africa. If the continent is to feed its growing population, farmers must find ways to control them. Pests account for high losses in other developing regions too.

For smallholder farmers in particular, pest management needs to be affordable, safe and sustainable. It should avoid the drawbacks of synthetic pesticides as far as possible. Research is now showing that integrated approaches can achieve these goals.

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How does communication and its technical content shape farmer responses to plant clinic advice?

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A recent study led by CABI and published in International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, explores how communication and its technical content shape farmers’ response to advice delivered at plant clinics. How willing were farmers to accept or reject the technologies recommended at plant clinic consultations? And what were the reasons? The research was carried out in Malawi, Costa Rica and Nepal, with the team visiting one plant clinic in each country.

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