Taking concrete steps to improve Myanmar’s Plant Health System

In developing regions where pest and disease outbreaks and the impact of climate change is most devastating, early warning systems are required to build resilience into agricultural production. These early warning systems cannot operate in a void, but proves effective when incorporated within a national policy framework that can support a holistic plant health system approach.

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Farmers attending a plant clinic in Myanmar

In Myanmar, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation (MOALI) has identified that its efforts to intensifying and diversifying agricultural production is being challenged by increasing pesticide use, illegal importation of pesticides, introduction of invasive species and slow response to disease and pest outbreaks. These issues have served as constraints to building a strong national plant health system as they undermine the resilience of millions of smallholder farmer who are key stakeholders in the agricultural sector.

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Can farms maintain productivity while reducing pesticide use?

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How would reducing pesticides affect productivity? (Photo: iStock Images)

A new UN report states that it is dangerously misleading to suggest that pesticides are necessary to achieve food security. Instead, the report recommends that farms reduce pesticide use and adopt sustainable practices that protect crops from pests by enhancing biodiversity and natural enemies. This agroecological approach eliminates reliance on, and exposure to, expensive and toxic chemical inputs, but would it really allow farmers to be just as productive?

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CABI organizes five-day Integrated Pest Management course in Beijing

CABI organizes five-day Integrated Pest Management course in Beijing

CABI organized a five-day course on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) at the Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science (CAAS) in Beijing on 13 to 17 February 2017. The course was delivered by CABI IPM expert Stefan Toepfer, a visiting professor at the Institute of Plant Protection in CAAS, where the joint Chinese Ministry of Agriculture-CABI laboratory is also located.

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Cabbage disease mystery in Ghana

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Cabbage © iStock images

Cabbage is an important crop in Ghana where it grows all year round, right across the country. It is mainly grown for commercial production in Southern Ghana, in Akwapim and Kwahu areas and in the moist high elevations around Tarkwa.

Growing cabbage in Ghana is challenging since it can be attacked by a variety of pests, such as cabbage aphids, caterpillars, cabbage webworm, diamondback moth, mole cricket, snails and rodents. Worldwide, aphids are a major concern because they commonly spread plant-infecting viruses. These are often diagnosed as turnip mosaic virus and cauliflower mosaic virus, particularly in Europe and the US, according to Dr John Carr, University of Cambridge, UK (Phys.org, 2017).

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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