Why African farmers should balance pesticides with other control methods

By Esther Ndumi Ngumbi. Reblogged from The Conversation.

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Insects are constantly adapting to methods used to control them. Shutterstock/Alf Ribeiro

Insect pests cause almost half of the crop losses in Africa. If the continent is to feed its growing population, farmers must find ways to control them. Pests account for high losses in other developing regions too.

For smallholder farmers in particular, pest management needs to be affordable, safe and sustainable. It should avoid the drawbacks of synthetic pesticides as far as possible. Research is now showing that integrated approaches can achieve these goals.

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New coalition puts knowledge and skills into the hands of those who need it

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CABI has joined forces with the ISEAL Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Coalition in the fight to implement better, less chemical-dependent, ways for farmers to manage agricultural pests and diseases that account for around 40% of lost crops worldwide. By linking with the Plantwise Knowledge Bank, the coalition aims to share knowledge on sustainable pest management strategies, strengthen knowledge exchanges on alternative methods for pest management, as well as identifying and focusing on specific pest-disease.

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Plantwise trials image recognition app Plantix in India

Plantix 4Plantwise and the German-based company PEAT (Progressive Environmental & Agricultural Technologies) are about to conduct an 18-month pilot study to assess the benefits of PEAT’s smartphone app Plantix, which can help to diagnose plant pests, diseases and nutrient deficiencies in the field.

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Women farmers in Ekxang Village equipped with pest-smart practices against pest and disease outbreaks

by Sathis Sri Thanarajoo. Reblogged from CCAFS: CGIAR News blog.

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A woman plant doctor discussing pest-smart practices with women farmers in Ekxang village. Photo credit: A.Costa (CABI) – view original

The Pest Smart program aims to enable farmers, particularly women and marginalized groups, to become resilient against potential pests and diseases outbreaks due to climate change.

The Pest Smart program promotes the adoption of climate-smart practices that manage pests and diseases, and empowers women to be actively involved in the decision-making process. It also serves as a platform to build the capacity and encourage participation of women farmers in dealing with pests and diseases (P&D).

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Agroforestry: Mitigating Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus Disease in Ghana

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Cocoa crop and dried cocoa beans (© Fpalli)

Crop diseases are an ever-increasing worldwide threat and estimated to be the cause of the 20-40% decrease in global agricultural productivity. With this boom in plant diseases affecting agricultural practices, there is therefore also an increased demand for research and the implementation of disease control and management schemes.

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Update: New Pest & Disease Records (7 Feb 18)

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Purple grape vineyard and rows (© 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 fortnight include the first report of grapevine yellow speckle viroids in Nigeria, the first report of tomato ringspot virus (Secoviridae) in a vineyard in Ohio, USA and the first report of pepper vein yellow virus in Pakistan.

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Robert Reeder on Protecting Banana Crops

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“Bananas, along with lots of crop plants are under threat from pests and diseases. The reason that bananas are particularly threatened is their lack of genetic diversity.”

Listen to CABI’s very own Rob Reeder talk to Greg Peterson on this podcast from The Urban Farm. Rob talks in detail about the increasing threat to the global banana crop industry but he also tells Greg all about Plantwise.

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