CABI’s Dr Kuhlmann talks plant health innovation at G20 Agricultural Chief Scientists meeting

Ulli G20 MACS 2 Cropped
Yesterday, CABI’s Executive Director of Global Operations, Dr Ulrich Kuhlmann, spoke about the importance of agricultural innovation and sharing plant health knowledge at the 5th meeting of the G20 Agricultural Chief Scientists (MACS). As the host country, China chaired the meeting. The G20 MACS took place in Xi’an on 30-31 May 2016, with representatives from G20 countries, as well as international organizations for agricultural research and international development, attending to discuss matters of global food security.

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Plantwise wins the OECD DAC Prize 2015

OECD DAC Prize 2015
From left: Jury member Andrew Wyckoff (OECD), CABI’s Janny Vos and Marin Hirschfeld; and jury member Julius Akinyemi (MIT). Photo © OECD

The CABI-led Plantwise programme this week won the OECD Development Assistance Committee’s Prize 2015 for innovation. The award recognises initiatives that take innovative approaches to international development, scaling up pilot projects and applying them more widely. Over the past five years, Plantwise has grown to reach over four million farmers in 34 countries, helping them to lose less and feed more. Plantwise was announced OECD DAC Prize winner at a ceremony at the OECD headquarters in Paris on 9 March.

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Farmer Health: A Case Against Pesticides

Guest blog by Julie Potyraj; read her previous post on community health here

82074_01.jpgFor most of us, the point of choosing sustainably grown foods is to protect our own health and to minimize environmental damage. While these are important reasons for making better choices at the grocery store, what about the human side and the health of those who labor in the fields of the world? Can selecting foods that are grown more sustainably with methods such as integrated crop management also be more ethical?

To answer that question, we must start with the number 1.3 billion. That’s how many agricultural laborers there are in the world. Of that number, up to 41 million are affected every year as a result of pesticide poisoning. That means 32% of this group are harmed by the use of pesticides ever year. Continue reading

Innovative Digital Applications for Sustainable Development – Eighth GCRA International Conference at University of Agricultural Sciences, Bengaluru

8th GCRA

It is evident that the development in the field of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and digital applications plays pivotal role in present knowledge based economies. Recently, I attended an ICT focussed international conference with my colleague from D2F in Bengaluru which was organised by UAS Bengaluru and GCRA, Australia from 5th-7th January, 2016 on “Innovative Digital Applications for Sustainable Development” at UAS Bengaluru. University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS), Bengaluru has played a major role in developing technologies and extension methodologies and for the sustainable development of the rural communities in Karnataka. The Global Communication Research Association (GCRA), Australia has been providing an academic forum for the past 14 years and also encouraging development of research in underrepresented geographical areas of the globe by focusing their areas of interest.

The conference aimed to facilitate effective dialogue among the researchers, communication specialists, extension professionals and young students in these disciplines for consolidating the strategies to achieve sustainable development through digital applications.

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Feasibility of adopting an IPM approach for sustainable Christophene production in the Northern Range of Trinidad

plantwiseTT_14Contributed by Aldo Hanel, CABI. 

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

Plant clinics help tackle crop diseases in Rwanda

Excerpt from The New Times article, published 22 January 2016

Plant clinics in Rwanda
Plant doctors examine farmers’ crop samples at Kinkanga Plant Health Clinic in Huye District on Monday. (Emmanuel Ntirenganya)

It is a Monday evening and Dominique Nkundukozera, a farmer in Rusatira Sector in Huye District, is seated on a chair at Kinkanga market, with several cassava stems. He had brought the stems for examination by experts at a ‘Plant Health Clinic’ at the market.

“Before the Plant Clinic initiative, I was losing about 60 per cent of my produce each season. It was unbearable because I could not even recoup the investment on the farm; however, since I started getting advice on disease management, losses have declined to 20 per cent”   Continue reading on The New Times website→

International Day of Rural Women

Tea pickers in Sri Lanka. (Photo: Katherine Cameron, CABI)
Tea pickers in Sri Lanka. (Photo: Katherine Cameron, CABI)

Today, 15 October, is the International Day of Rural Women. The majority of rural women depend on natural resources and agriculture for their livelihoods. In developing countries, rural women represent approximately 43% of the agricultural labour force, and produce, process and prepare much of the food available, thereby giving them primary responsibility for food security.

Ensuring rural women’s access to reliable agricultural advice can make the difference between their crop succeeding or failing. CABI works alongside national extension services to deliver information to farmers in the field, through face to face plant clinics, voicemail/SMS messages, radio and magazines, through projects such as Plantwise (www.plantwise.org), Direct2Farm (www.cabi.org/direct2farm) and the Africa Soil Health Consortium (www.africasoilhealth.cabi.org).

The three women pictured above are tea pickers in Sri Lanka. Anyone who has visited tea growing countries will notice the large commercial tea farms, and women in the fields picking the tea leaves. Smallholders also contribute to tea production in Sri Lanka. Regulated by the Tea Smallholding Authority, they sell tea leaves from their 0.5-2 acre plots to the big tea companies. Tea blister blight is the main problem for tea farmers in Sri Lanka. In June, farmer Punchi brought a diseased tea leaf into the plant clinic in Nuwara Eliya. The plant doctor was able to diagnose blister blight and recommend how to manage the problem. Punchi left the clinic with a new hope that she could stop the disease from spreading and save the rest of her tea crop for selling to the tea companies.

You can find out more about blister blight by reading the Plantwise technical factsheet on tea blister blight.
Find out more about the International Day of Rural Women at http://www.un.org/en/events/ruralwomenday.