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 countries 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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Artificial Intelligence in Africa: Google’s new AI centre in Ghana

Chinyunyu Plant Clinic in Rufunsa district, Zambia.
AI tools could potentially help farmers identify and target crop pests in the field using just a mobile device. Image: ©David Ng’ambi for CABI

Google’s first artificial intelligence (AI) lab in Africa has opened in Accra, Ghana. The tech giant aims to support researchers with the tools and environment necessary to develop AI products to solve numerous problems faced across the continent within the agriculture sector.

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Biopiracy: The misuse of patenting systems at the disadvantage of local communities

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Due to the increasing need for novel, untapped resources (biological and chemical), many research developments are looking at previously untouched and rural regions as a source for these new resources (© Pexels)

In the search for new bioresources in increasingly remote and rural regions, researchers will use the traditional knowledge of local communities to support their search for new, untapped plants, animals or chemical compounds. The ethical (and sometimes political) issues surrounding this come when this knowledge is used without permission, and exploits the local community’s assistance and culture for commercial gain. This is called biopiracy.

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Amid global soil crisis, governments struggle to reach farmers

By Fatima Arkin. Reblogged from devex.

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Cultivated soil. Photo by: Jan Kroon

To help tackle nutrient deficiency and plastic pollution in India’s soils, the country has one of the best knowledge delivery systems and trained human resource power in agriculture research. And yet, over 59 percent of the farming households receive no assistance from either their government or the private sector, according to the 2013 National Sample Survey conducted by the Indian government, the latest and most authoritative of its kind.

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Including more women in Plantwise Pakistan

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With a strong emphasis on making sure gender is embedded within the entire programme, Plantwise Pakistan has been actively pursuing the participation of more women in its activities and implementation. Realising the important role of females in agricultural development and the need to build their own capacity, the Agriculture Department of Punjab nominated 12 female agriculture officers from different districts to attend a recent Plantwise training session. The continuous increase in attendance of women is positive news for both Plantwise and Pakistan.

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Reverse innovation brings new intelligence to food chain pest management

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CABI has today launched PestSmart Diagnostics in Europe and North America, a new and unique e-learning course based on training developed for the award-winning Plantwise agricultural programme aimed at farmers in developing countries.

PestSmart promises to benefit the way businesses in the food supply chain manage plant health problems to grow more and better produce.

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