‘Plant doctors’ to help Myanmar farmers reduce crop losses

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The practical plant doctor training sessions took place in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar (Photo: East-West Seed)

A new program in Myanmar has just produced its first group of ‘plant doctors’ – experts who can help farmers reduce their losses by diagnosing problems with their crops.

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Voices of farmers facing the Fall armyworm

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Deo Mutekanyiza beside his maize field (Photo: Farm Radio International)

Masindi and Kiryandongo are the maize-growing regions of Uganda, and maize – or corn – is a staple crop, cooked into a porridge for breakfast or into ugali for dinner.

The Fall armyworm is threatening maize crops in Uganda – and by extension the food security of Ugandans. It’s expected to damage up to 1.39 million tonnes of maize.

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Update: New Pest & Disease Records (15 Dec 17)

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Electron micrograph of Papaya ringspot virus, PRSV-P (© Jorge A.M. Rezende)

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 a first report of snow mould (Typhula cf. subvariabilis) in Antarctica, the first report of Drosophila suzukii and the black locust gall midge (Obolodiplosis robiniae) in Poland.

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Rhodococcus ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ Bacteria Discovered in Plant Nurseries

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Multiple shoot development (Danny Vereecke)

Researchers at Oregon State University (OSU) have used genome sequencing to identify species of the soil bacteria genus Rhodococcus that is commonly associated with stimulated growth patterns in a number of plant species. Herbaceous perennials such as chrysanthemum, speedwell and Shasta daisy are primarily affected by this bacterium.

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Space-age technology for fight against crop-devastating pest outbreaks

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Fall armyworm on maize; photo: CABI

Last night, the Pest Risk Information Service (PRISE), which uses state-of-the-art technology to help inform farmers in sub-Saharan Africa of pest outbreaks, was launched in Zambia at the British High Commission in Lusaka. The service is being developed by a consortium led by CABI and is funded by the UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme (IPP).

Datasets obtained from a combination of the plant-pest lifecycle, earth observation and satellite positioning, are being used to spearhead the fight against pests that devastate an estimated 40% of the world’s crops. The project will help farmers fight back against potentially disastrous pests such as the Fall Armyworm.

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Photo story: e-plant clinics in Sri Lanka

E-plant clinics in Sri Lanka were launched in June 2015. Since then 190 Plant doctors have been trained and equipped with tablets, with the Sri Lankan Ministry of Agriculture funding half of the total number of tablets themselves. Being equipped with tablets means Plant doctors give higher quality recommendations, and the data collection process is also considerably streamlined. Below are two snapshots of how e-plant clinics are doing in Sri Lanka.

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Sagarika helps a farmer diagnose his diseased crop

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E-plant clinics launched in Mozambique

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E-plant clinic in Inhambane Province, Mozambique (© CABI)

E-plant clinics have been successfully launched in Mozambique this November, following two trainings and official launches. The trainings took place in a village called Tenga, Moamba near the capital city of Maputo (around 80 km), and in Morrumbene District near the city of Inhambane.

Training was delivered in partnership with the National Directorate of Agricultural Extension (DNEA), an institution of the Ministry of Agriculture in Mozambique.

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