On International Tea Day, raise a cup to the growers

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Photo: Tweetspeak Poetry, Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

International Tea Day is observed annually on 15 December, and aims to raise awareness of the impact of the global tea trade on the farmers and agricultural labourers who produce tea. It has been celebrated since 2005 in tea producing countries such as Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Vietnam, Kenya, Malawi, Malaysia, Uganda, India and Tanzania – all of which are countries where Plantwise operates.

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Tune in to the Cassava show

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Farmer listening group; photo David Onyango, CABI

Last week in the Nkhotakota region of Malawi a new radio show went on air. Not a news programme or a music show, but a show devoted to Cassava. Sounds pretty specific? Well, it’s even more focussed than that. The weekly 30 minute programme is actually focussed on managing one of Cassava’s most damaging diseases – Cassava mosaic disease.

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A greater role for educational animation in extension?

Blog contributed by Nick Quist Nathaniels, Independent Consultant, Denmark

A freeze-frame animation showing a mouldy groundnut kernel © CCRP/ McKnight Foundation’
A freeze-frame from animation showing a mouldy groundnut kernel © CCRP/ McKnight Foundation

Computer animations are a rather special and exciting communication medium. For example, they can be used to illustrate the basic biology of pests and diseases and explain control measures. Animations are also an effective way to show changes that occur over a long time or at the landscape, watershed or even the global level. A combination of animation with spoken explanations can make such phenomena much easier to grasp. Being able to ‘see’ the phenomenon helps viewers imagine why individual or collaborative actions may be needed to address otherwise hidden problems. Continue reading

Making the most of the knowledge bank: How to enhance your country’s content

Contributed by Léna Durocher-Granger and Kate Dey

Are you perhaps a coffee expert, a research scientist, post-graduate student in crop management, an extension officer working at the Ministry of Agriculture? Would you like to contribute to the plant health system of your country, bring the Plantwise methodology to your institute, help us with the translation of content so it can be used locally or improve your extension writing skills?

Well, we have made it easier for you to get involved with the development of essential extension materials and enhance pest management and control information for your country. You now have the power to download and edit Green Lists– a type of Pest Management Decision Guides (PMDGs) which provide simple and vital prevention, management and control information for extension workers and farmers. They contain generic non-chemical and non-hazardous advice such as cultural and mechanical control.

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Grand Challenges – inspiring next generation plant pathologists

Julie Flood, Phil Taylor and Claire Beverley attended the ‘Grand Challenges in Plant Pathology study group’ event at the Doctoral Training Centre, University of Oxford, 14-16 September. The event was the first of its kind, aiming to engage and inspire the next generation of plant pathologists.

Biotechnology lab The event was sponsored by the British Society of Plant Pathology (BSPP), the American Phytopathological Society (APS) and CABI, and saw 5 real problems posed by industry and non-academic organisations to a group of 27 young scientists, post-docs and graduate students, in all aspects of plant pathology and plant sciences.

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Plantwise partners hone their pathology skills during UK training course

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Course participants learn diagnostic techniques in CABI’s Egham lab. Credit: M Rutherford, CABI

For the fourth successive year, CABI UK Centre staff in June ran a four day training course on Techniques in Plant Pathology. Through lectures, demonstrations and practical sessions, the course provided a comprehensive overview of methods used for diagnosing plant health problems and for isolating, culturing and identifying fungi, bacteria, nematodes, viruses and phytoplasmas as causal organisms. This year, as in 2015, the primary aim of the course was to support the development of diagnostic capacity within the Plantwise programme. As such, all participants were carefully selected from 19 Plantwise partner countries in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean and Latin America. The majority are actively involved in Plantwise activities within their respective countries, and some are already providing diagnostic assistance directly to plant clinics or through provision of laboratory-based diagnoses and pest identifications. To provide a practical management perspective, participants also received some insight on the key characteristics of high impact pests they are likely to encounter in their work and how these are best tackled in the field. Feedback from all participants, who immensely enjoy the course and their time in the UK, has been extremely positive. Continue reading

South American tomato leaf miner, Tuta absoluta, reported in Nepal for the first time

South American tomato leaf miner, Tuta absoluta (Meyrick), has been reported in a tomato farm for the first time in Nepal and the presence has been confirmed in five districts, Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur, Kavrepalanchowk and Dhading district. Studies carried out by the Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC) in May and June this year have identified and confirmed the presence of the pest in 14 locations in the five districts mentioned above. The highest infestation was identified in two districts, Ugrachandi Nala-2 and Panchakhal of Kavrepalanchowk district.

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T. absoluta damage on tomato. Copyright: Peter Kodwaran, Ministry of Agriculture Livestock and Fisheries (MoALF), Kenya

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