Homemade botanical remedies: can they really work for pest control?

By Rebecca Quarterman

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A recent study by CABI scientists looked at 12 botanicals

For many low-income farmers, commercial pesticides are too costly to use. Seemingly, the next best option for many is to turn to homemade botanical insecticides using local sources. But how reliable are these resources, and are they safe to recommend?

A CABI-authored paper published in Agronomy for Sustainable Development reviews the efficacy of some of the most commonly used homemade botanicals in controlling insect pests. This paper specifically focuses on previous studies that tested homemade preparations under “realistic local field or storage conditions”, as there has been no previous in-depth review on this particular topic.

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CABI programmes showcased at International Conference on Plant Protection in Horticulture

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CABI were a sponsor with Dr Claire Beverley a guest of honour at ICPPH 2019. Photo ©CABI

CABI programmes, Plantwise and Action on Invasives, have showcased their expertise in plant protection and improving rural livelihoods to a global audience of agriculture experts and scientists at the recent International Conference on Plant Protection in Horticulture held at ICAR-Indian Institute of Horticultural Research, Bengaluru.

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Smelling plant diseases: New technology identifies plant diseases remotely in the field

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By identifying the chemical cocktails released by leaves, the newly developed technology can identify if a specific plant is diseased and if so, what the disease is (© Pexels)

Researchers at North Carolina State University have published an exciting study on a novel technology which allows farmers and extension workers to identify plant diseases remotely in the field using airborne chemical fingerprints. The newly developed handheld sensory device, which can be plugged into a smartphone, samples the airborne levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are released by plants from the leaves.

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Biological controls viable alternative to pesticides for rice farmers in China

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Monitoring for stem borer egg masses in Xin’gan Province, China (Photo ©CABI)

Between 2011 and 2015, CABI set up 22 Trichogramma rearing facilities as part of a project to promote the use of biologically-based Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for rice and maize crops. In addition to creating the Trichogramma rearing facilities, IPM strategies for rice and maize were developed in Southwestern China, Laos and Myanmar.

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Update: New Pest & Disease Records (05 August 2019)

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This month’s pest alerts include a report on the tea mosquito (Helopeltis theivora) as a pest on the tropical pitcher plant Nephenthes khasiana (© Tris T7, Public Domain CC0)

We’ve selected a few of the latest new geographic, host and species records for plant pests and diseases from CAB Abstracts. Records this month include a report on the honey locust podgall midge (Dasineura gleditchiae) in Ireland, a report population fluctuations of fruit flies in guava orchards and a report on a new record of Helopeltis theivora pest on tropical pitcher plants.  Continue reading

Soil-dwelling worms threatening farmers’ livelihoods

By Wilson Odhiambo. Originally published on SciDev.Net.

As soil-dwelling worms threaten smallholders’ livelihoods, governments should act fast, writes Wilson Odhiambo.

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Farmer and son inspecting their cabbage field Copyright: Ollivier Girard/CIFORCC BY-NC-ND 2.0
David Magondo, a father of three from Central Kenya, has been farming for over 35 years in an activity that has helped him feed and take care of his family.

But the once dependable source of income and livelihood for the 57-year-old farmer is now a nightmare due to the soil-dwelling parasitic worms that render farming less productive.

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Aerobotics: Supporting precision agriculture across Africa

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Aerobotics are one of a number of companies incorporating the use of unmanned drones to promote crop pest and disease management (© Pexels)

Aerobotics, a Cape Town-based agritech startup company has recently partnered with the South African Federation of Agricultural Organisations (AgriSA) to launch a free data service for farmers using a range of spectral imaging technology.

As a company, Aerobotics specialises in farm monitoring processes using a number of modern spectral imaging technologies, including satellite and drone aerial imaging as well as incorporating AI technology to target crop pest and disease management.

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