Kanyumbu village is a compact rural farming village in Lilongwe district in Malawi. Farmers in this village mostly produce maize, beans, and mangoes from a few trees scattered in their fields. In 2013, they received a new service from the Department of Agriculture; a plant clinic, with a plant doctor. They were informed that they could present any crop affected by pests and diseases, or that was simply ‘not looking normal’. The plant doctor could examine the crop samples, diagnose the problem and tell them what was ailing their crops. On the spot, the plant doctor could provide advice on how to manage the crop pests and problems.
In the Kabwe District of Zambia, Adamson Andrew Tembo is the acting senior agricultural officer (SAO) working with the Ministry of Agriculture. He is trained as an agricultural engineer and his role has been as an irrigation engineer. He was transferred to Kabwe District in January 2017 and assumed the role of SAO in July that year. Kabwe district has five plant clinics; one permanently based at Chililalila and the rest mobile plant clinics; operated by two plant doctors. Although Mr Tembo has not been trained as a plant doctor, he has access to a rich Plantwise informational resource; the Plantwise Factsheets Library app on his phone.
The Agriculture Department in Pakistan recently organised a two-day agriculture expo (23-24 June 2018) at the Expo center Lahore. The aim of the expo was to introduce recent interventions and advances in the agriculture sector to both farming and non-farming communities.
The Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), Research and Development Division (R&D) and Plant Quarantine Produce Inspection (PQPI) – all agencies of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries of Jamaica – teamed up with CABI Plantwise to prepare the first of a series of rallies on different plant health topics. A two-day workshop was held last month with a group of trained plant doctors on how to prepare and deliver a plant health rally.
Plant health is increasingly under threat from a range of abiotic factors – such as nutritional deficiencies, extremes in temperature, adverse soil pH, pollutants – as well as biotic factors such as fungi, bacteria, viruses, nematodes, insects and other animals. Diagnosing and managing these issues requires a new approach in training agricultural extension field staff, to ensure that they are equipped with the knowledge and tools required.
Smallholder farmers provide the vast majority of the world’s food supply, and ‘small-scale farming’ is the largest occupation group of economically active people, 43% of which are women.
Approximately 2 billion of the world’s poorest live in households that depend on agriculture in some form for their livelihoods, whether this is for market or subsistence. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) states that growth in agriculture in developing countries is on average almost 3 times more effective in reducing poverty (relative to non-agriculture GDP growth).
CABI has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Agriculture Department Gilgit Baltistan in Pakistan to launch the Plantwise programme in order to provide research-based advisory services to farmers.
The agreement, which will deliver Plantwise plant clinic services, was signed by Dr Babar Bajwa, Regional Director – CABI Central and West Asia, and Mr Sajjad Haider who is Secretary, Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries at Gilgit Baltistan. Continue reading →