Plantwise in Pakistan and its opportunities to share knowledge

The group of participants for the data sharing and use workshop held by Plantwise at the CABI CWA office in Islamabad
The group of participants for the data sharing and use workshop held by Plantwise at the CABI CWA office in Islamabad

 

In June 2014, Dr Aamir H Malik, CABI Country Coordinator for Pakistan, Cambria Finegold, Head of Project Development for the Plantwise Knowledge Bank and Julien Lamontagne-Godwin, Plantwise scientific officer, organised a workshop in Islamabad that united major stakeholders in the Pakistani plant health system. These included the departments of Extension and Adaptive Research, Pest Warning and Quality Control of Pesticides, Agricultural Information, the National Agricultural Research Centre, the Punjab Seed Corporation and the Horticultural Development and Export Company.

The objective was to demonstrate the power and possible use of the data being generated by the rising number of plant clinics in the country. The participants felt that it is crucial that the data, owned by the Directorate General of Extension and Adaptive Research, is shared to a maximum amount of actors in the plant health system.  This will enable them to work more efficiently in the agricultural domain, depending on their mandates: develop updated and topical research strategies, conduct more targeted extension campaigns, understand the health of various crops in a region and develop better seeds or resistant varieties. Indeed, this is one of the core objectives of Plantwise.

Overall, the workshop was an unqualified success, as many partners are now keen to be linked to the data sharing platform that is the Plantwise Knowledge Bank, and receive topical and interesting data from the Directorate General of Extension and Adaptive Research plant clinics.

Plantwise captures the imagination of the Afghan Agricultural hierarchy through its National Forum

Group Photo NFM
Representatives at Afghanistan’s National Forum

Since 2012, the Plantwise Afghanistan team, including Muhammad Faheem as Country Coordinator, Dr Babar Ehsan Bajwa as Regional Director for CABI Central and West Asia and Julien Lamontagne-Godwin as European Support Staff from the CABI UK centre, has been increasingly involved in the agricultural development of the country. As the programme has gone from strength to strength, it has not only grown its clinic network, but also engaged regularly with the various stakeholders involved in the country’s agricultural system.

The National Forum is one of the many stakeholder engagement tools at the programme’s disposal, and it was used to full effect in March 2014. Continue reading

Our Earth Day stories…What’s yours?

At CABI we spend a lot of time researching some of the most extreme challenges facing the environment, and supporting livelihoods that depend on the environment with programmes like Plantwise. Each year the international community celebrates Earth Day on April 22nd, to draw public attention to some of these challenges like climate change, food insecurity, loss of biodiversity, habitat destruction and how we can all play a part in the solution. To raise awareness today, we’d like to share some of our Earth Day stories: tales of ways big and small that we are trying to conserve the Earth’s resources, or what we would like to do this year. Check out our stories below and let us know in the comments, on facebook or twitter one of your stories this Earth Day.


Julia Dennis, Communications Manager Plantwise & CABI Switzerland

Image“I never knew there was so much wildlife in city parks until I started last year working with the Green Gym in London’s Regents Park. It’s run by The Conservation Volunteers to fix up park space and make it suitable for more species of plants and animals, helping them thrive even in urban spaces. The name is no joke as well- it is an extremely good workout cutting through bramble and planting trees. Ouch!”

 


Claire Curry, Content Developer

Kessner Photography (CC BY)
Kessner Photography

“You can’t beat freshly picked food from the field. We have a small fruit and vegetable plot where we grow a range of crops including apples, tomatoes, raspberries, strawberries, carrots and lettuces. This provides us with great produce using minimal resources as the fruits and vegetables do not have to be packaged or transported – just pick, rinse and eat! The peelings and other garden waste are then recycled into compost, ready to fertilise the next crop.”

 


Sarah Hilliar, Creative Designer

sarah reef

“In 2006 I spent 4 weeks in the Philippines doing reef conservation work with Coral Cay Conservation. This involved learning 400 fish, coral and invertebrate species and taking part in 3 dives a day on various reefs around the coastline of the Philippines. The highlight was being in the water with whale sharks during one of the dives!”

 

 


Holly Wright, Project Management Supportgarden

“I live in a house that loves good food- growing it, cooking it, sharing it and eating. It’s so great to know exactly where your food comes from and how it’s been grown. The shorter the chain from mud to mouth the better.

I have the luxury of growing my own food or buying it. For many subsistence farmers their garden plots are their only choice and the success of their crops can be the difference between food or famine. I first saw poverty 12 years ago and I’ve had a heart to work in food security ever since.”


Emily Palmer, Content Development Assistant

Looking out over the Thames on the way to CABI Photo credit: Emily Palmer
Photo credit: Emily Palmer

“One of my favourite things about living close to work is walking in and back every day along the Thames. It takes about 35 minutes, so I have lots of time to enjoy the scenic river view, listen to the songbirds and ducks, and get energized for the day. I’ve met lots of people and some very friendly dogs – it’s a great way to get some exercise and reduce my fuel consumption!”


Credit: Polythene Pam, Plastic Is Rubbish

Abigail Rumsey, Content Developer

“My cousin has spent the past seven years boycotting plastics. When you start thinking about this in today’s consumer society, it seems like an impossible task. However, she has managed to cut down to using the bare minimum of plastic wherever possible: making her own beauty products, insisting that supermarkets fill her fabric bags, using refillable bottles for water, and not using disposable stationery. Also, wherever she goes in the world, she documents the plastic rubbish that is ruining scenery and killing animals.”

Take a look at the Plastic Is Rubbish website to find out how you can start to cut plastic out of your life: http://plasticisrubbish.com/

Plantwise 2013 Highlights

PW collage

As we move into the New Year and all that 2014 has to offer it seems like a good time to review some of the achievements of 2013. Here are a few of the Plantwise highlights of 2013!

Continue reading

CABI and IPPC Technical Working Group meets in Rome

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This past week, the Technical Working Group (TWG) between the IPPC Secretariat and CABI, including its Plantwise programme, met at FAO Headquarters in Rome to review the progress made since they convened last January to identify the areas of common interest and possible joint activities in the future. Given the different but complementary nature of IPPC and CABI activities, the TWG intends to explore how they can best synergize their respective missions while also improving understanding and building capacity amongst IPPC contracting parties and CABI member countries on areas of mutual interest.

Discussions during the two-day meeting aimed to highlight potential actions and resources necessary to achieve these goals. The TWG also agreed to continue progress on ongoing projects such as harmonizing plant protection terminology, building necessary links between resources and information collected and managed by both teams, and continuing to develop material and tools valuable to their common goals.

In looking ahead, both the IPPC Secretariat and CABI plan to review the joint activities on an annual basis, developing this collaboration to meet new plant protection challenges and priorities in the future.

Landmark climate change report will bring new concerns for food security

Food security and climate change
Sanjit Das/CABI

Tomorrow, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will release its fifth global warming report predicting indicators of climate change for the coming years. The expectation is that the temperature is set to increase even more dramatically than the last report predicted in 2007, causing a domino effect on weather conditions, oceanic trends and the multitude of ecosystems which are dependent on them.  “We believe the assessment of new publications will help us fill up some existing gaps and add to the body of knowledge that already exists in this entire field,” says IPCC Chairman Rajendra K. Pachauri.Often for the public, gaps in understanding of global warming and its predicted effects still remain. Climate change conjures up images of polar bears drifting on icebergs across expanding oceans, or hurricanes spiralling over tropical islands, waves crashing past highway barriers, and entire countries left immersed underwater. But less often do the effects of climate change seem to trickle into the everyday.  We know what we can do about it (recycle, bike to work), and how policy-makers have struggled to act on it (curbing temperature increase, agreeing on a unified response) but do we know how global warming and the IPCC predicted scenarios will really affect humanity? Do we know how this will impact the most basic human needs, namely our access to sufficient food and nutrients? Continue reading

Resolving pest problems in Trinidad and Tobago

Article by Shamela Rambadan, CABI Country Coordinator.

Sample of the slug and eggs © CABI
Sample of the slug and eggs © CABI

In Trinidad and Tobago many Plantwise plant clinics have been implemented to provide free information and advice to smallholder farmers. To date there are 8 plant clinics in Trinidad and 2 are planned for Tobago. CABI Plantwise is partnered with the Ministry of Food Production with extension workers from the Ministry and the Department of Agriculture in Tobago trained by CABI to become plant doctors at local plant clinics. The plant doctors diagnose plant pest and diseases and provide recommendations as to the control. For plant samples that require further identification they are sent to the diagnostic facility at the Ministry of Food Production in Trinidad.

The plant clinic at St George West County Extension Office in Trinidad and Tobago recently received Merleen, a householder in desperate need to control the slug population on her prized Anthuriums. Merleen came to the clinic to seek advice to resolve the pest problem without the use of harsh chemicals. She noted that many of her Anthuriums died once the slugs started feeding on the leaves and has subsequently lost 24 out of 50 plants since the onset of the slug battle in September 2012. Merleen explained that in an attempt to control the slug population she would go out into her garden late at night armed with a flashlight to identify the slugs and table salt which she applied directly onto the slugs in order to destroy them. Despite a small reduction in population, the slugs kept coming back night after night.   Continue reading