Update: Plant Health News (21 Oct 15)

The Gene Stewardship Award was presented to 3 Kenyan scientists for their work in tackling the deadly wheat rust © IAEA Imagebank
The Gene Stewardship Award was presented to 3 Kenyan scientists for their work in tackling wheat rust © IAEA Imagebank

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including how technology could increase Citrus yields in Pakistan by 30%, what scientists in Kenya are doing to eliminate devastating wheat rust and a global maps of the gap between potential and actual yields of wheat and maize.

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International Day of Rural Women

Tea pickers in Sri Lanka. (Photo: Katherine Cameron, CABI)
Tea pickers in Sri Lanka. (Photo: Katherine Cameron, CABI)

Today, 15 October, is the International Day of Rural Women. The majority of rural women depend on natural resources and agriculture for their livelihoods. In developing countries, rural women represent approximately 43% of the agricultural labour force, and produce, process and prepare much of the food available, thereby giving them primary responsibility for food security.

Ensuring rural women’s access to reliable agricultural advice can make the difference between their crop succeeding or failing. CABI works alongside national extension services to deliver information to farmers in the field, through face to face plant clinics, voicemail/SMS messages, radio and magazines, through projects such as Plantwise (www.plantwise.org), Direct2Farm (www.cabi.org/direct2farm) and the Africa Soil Health Consortium (www.africasoilhealth.cabi.org).

The three women pictured above are tea pickers in Sri Lanka. Anyone who has visited tea growing countries will notice the large commercial tea farms, and women in the fields picking the tea leaves. Smallholders also contribute to tea production in Sri Lanka. Regulated by the Tea Smallholding Authority, they sell tea leaves from their 0.5-2 acre plots to the big tea companies. Tea blister blight is the main problem for tea farmers in Sri Lanka. In June, farmer Punchi brought a diseased tea leaf into the plant clinic in Nuwara Eliya. The plant doctor was able to diagnose blister blight and recommend how to manage the problem. Punchi left the clinic with a new hope that she could stop the disease from spreading and save the rest of her tea crop for selling to the tea companies.

You can find out more about blister blight by reading the Plantwise technical factsheet on tea blister blight.
Find out more about the International Day of Rural Women at http://www.un.org/en/events/ruralwomenday.

Update: New Pest & Disease Records (14 Oct 15)

Damage to banana roots, like this example caused by burrowing nematodes (Radopholus similis) have been studied in Ethiopia © Scot Nelson, CC BY-SA
Nematode damage on banana roots has been studied in Ethiopia © Scot Nelson, CC BY-SA

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 Nesidiocoris tenuis, a predatory species of the tomato leafminer, Tuta absoluta in Iran, the first report of Chickpea chlorotic dwarf virus infecting tomato crops in Pakistan and root necrosis assessment of plant parasitic nematodes of banana at Arbaminch, Ethiopia.

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Update: Plant Health News (07 Oct 15)

Farmers examine crop residues, a key feature of Conservation Agriculture © CIMMYT (CC BY-NC-SA)
Farmers examine crop residues, a key feature of Conservation Agriculture © CIMMYT (CC BY-NC-SA)

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including the World Food Programme to tackle postharvest loss in Uganda, a key new discovery in the way that nematodes cause damage to plants and using conservation agriculture to boost wheat yields in India.

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Factsheet of the month: October 2015 – Grain storage in metal silos against insect pests

20157800264Last week, 193 Member States of the United Nations adopted the new Sustainable Development Agenda to end poverty by 2030. This came at the beginning of a three-day Summit on Sustainable Development during which focussed on implanting changes that will see the Agenda achieve its ambitious aims. The Agenda, consisting of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), will help countries to develop their policies over the next 15 years.

The second SDG on the list is to “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.” Globally, 1 in 9 people are undernourished, the majority of whom are in developing countries where food loss is an important factor. Food loss is the food that gets spilled or spoilt before it reaches its final product or retail stage, whereas food waste happens at the retailer or consumer stage. Continue reading

Update: New Pest & Disease Records (30 Sep 15)

Powdery mildew has been found to affect fennel in Korea. (Quinn Dombrowski. CC BY-SA)
Powdery mildew has been found to affect fennel in Korea. (Quinn Dombrowski. CC BY-SA)

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 Pepper vein yellows virus infecting red pepper in mainland China, postharvest ginger rhizome rot caused by Fusarium verticillioides in Brazil and the first report of powdery mildew caused by Erysiphe heraclei on fennel in Korea.

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Update: Plant Health News (23 Sep 15)

Earthworms are effective in boosting soil fertility © UNDP (CC BY-NC-SA)
Earthworms can boost soil fertility © UNDP

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including the damage to irrigation channels caused by Chilean earthquakes, the promotion of earthworms to improve soil fertility and boost crop yields in Zimbabwe, and a severe reduction in cereal production in Central America as a result of the El Niño.

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