On 5th October, the BBC reported that at least 50 farmers have died in the western state of Mharashtra, India, since July, due to suspected accidental pesticide poisoning (see the full article on the BBC website).
Nineteen of these deaths were reported from Yavatmal district, a major cotton growing area, where farmers use a variety of cotton which is meant to be resistant to bollworms. However, this year, despite use of this variety, crop damage caused by bollworm has been highly significant, leading to an increase in the use of pesticides.
After 2 hours drive, we arrive in Rufunsa District located approximately 150 kilometres east of the Zambian Capital, Lusaka. After exchanging pleasantries we settle down with Brian Siame a trained plant doctor and one of the participants in our survey to find out more about plant doctor requirements for pest alert messages.
After a brief explanation of how PRISE will work Brian was taken through the survey and its relevance to his role. “The pest forecast messages will be sent to plant doctors like you so that you can provide farmers with timely advice and help them manage local pest outbreaks,” explained Abigail Rumsey from CABI. “The alerts will take the form of short text messages, advising on predicted pest life stage and risk level, with the possibility of including the pest image to help ease identification and diagnosis”.
Citrus Greening, also known as Huanglongbing, was first confirmed in Grenada in 2016. The disease is caused by bacteria which are spread by the Citrus psyllid. The disease causes yellow blotchy mottling on leaves, small lopsided fruit and branch dieback, making the tree uneconomical. Due to Citrus greening’s potential to devastate Citrus yields, Grenada’s Ministry of Agriculture has launched a campaign to control the disease, which has been detected in almost every area of the island. In the video above, Thaddeus Peters, Agricultural Officer for the MoA’s Pest Management Unit, explains the importance and methods of controlling Citrus Greening. Continue reading →
An adult male coconut rhinoceros beetle. Emmy Engasser, Hawaiian Scarab ID, USDA APHIS ITP, Bugwood.org
10 years ago the Coconut Rhinoceros beetle (CRB) was first discovered on the western Pacific island of Guam. Since then, these shoe-shine black, miniature invaders have spread to all parts of the island and are laying waste to the local coconut and oil palm population. The economy, culture and ecology of Guam and other Pacific islands are intrinsically linked to the native palm species such that the rhino beetle poses a major threat. The indigenous peoples of Guam have a long history of weaving palm fronds, an artistry that is now at risk due to the rhino beetle. These trees are a symbol of tropic paradise, a motif that drives Guam’s primary industry; tourism. Continue reading →
The tomato leaf miner, Tuta absoluta, is a devastating pest of tomato. Originating from Latin America, T. absoluta has spread via infested fruits and packaging material to Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. Given its potential for crop destruction and rapid reproduction, it quickly became a key pest of concern in East Africa. Its primary host is tomato, but it also affects potato, aubergine, beans and others. Continue reading →
Huanglongbing (HLB), also known as Citrus greening, has been confirmed in Trinidad for the first time. The disease, which was detected on leaves from a lime tree in the north of the island, can cause devastating yield loss for Citrus growers and is regarded as one of the most important threats to global commercial and sustainable citrus production. Continue reading →
A facility has been launched in Kenya to aid commercial production of a protein bait to control fruit flies in Sub-Saharan Africa. The US$250,000 facility, which resulted from public-private partnership involving the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe) and Kenya Biologics Ltd, will enable smallholders control fruit flies that devastate their fruits and vegetables.