Reverse innovation brings new intelligence to food chain pest management

PestSmart promo image

CABI has today launched PestSmart Diagnostics in Europe and North America, a new and unique e-learning course based on training developed for the award-winning Plantwise agricultural programme aimed at farmers in developing countries.

PestSmart promises to benefit the way businesses in the food supply chain manage plant health problems to grow more and better produce.

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Plantwise partners hone their pathology skills during UK training course

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Course participants learn diagnostic techniques in CABI’s Egham lab. Credit: M Rutherford, CABI

For the fourth successive year, CABI UK Centre staff in June ran a four day training course on Techniques in Plant Pathology. Through lectures, demonstrations and practical sessions, the course provided a comprehensive overview of methods used for diagnosing plant health problems and for isolating, culturing and identifying fungi, bacteria, nematodes, viruses and phytoplasmas as causal organisms. This year, as in 2015, the primary aim of the course was to support the development of diagnostic capacity within the Plantwise programme. As such, all participants were carefully selected from 19 Plantwise partner countries in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean and Latin America. The majority are actively involved in Plantwise activities within their respective countries, and some are already providing diagnostic assistance directly to plant clinics or through provision of laboratory-based diagnoses and pest identifications. To provide a practical management perspective, participants also received some insight on the key characteristics of high impact pests they are likely to encounter in their work and how these are best tackled in the field. Feedback from all participants, who immensely enjoy the course and their time in the UK, has been extremely positive. Continue reading

Plan for the Launch of Plant Clinics in Baghlan Province

CABI country coordinator briefed Plantwise program to the Dean of Agriculture Faculty, Baghlan University, Afghanistan
CABI country coordinator briefed Plantwise program to the Dean of Agriculture Faculty, Baghlan University, Afghanistan

Muhammad Faheem, CABI Country coordinator for Plantwise Afghanistan travelled to Baghlan province north of Kabul, which has great agriculture potential. Six plant doctors, belonging to Plantwise partners DAIL, AKF and Baghlan University were recently trained in how to become plant doctors. Introductory meetings Between Plantwise and implementing partners were held to set up the future plan of operation for three plant clinics in the area. Continue reading

CABI scientists help to uncover new occurrences of plant diseases

Tertiary vein chlorosis of Cassava Brown Streak Disease, just one of the diseases CABI scientists have worked on in 2012 ©  IITA  (CC By-NC licence)
Tertiary vein chlorosis of Cassava brown streak disease, just one of the diseases CABI scientists worked on in 2012 © IITA (CC BY-NC licence)

In 2012, CABI scientists continued to contribute to the discovery of new occurrences of plant pests and diseases, via the Plantwise diagnostic service. CABI’s Plantwise initiative offers a free service for eligible clients in developing countries, providing disease identification support to plant clinics. Every year, the DFID-funded service receives more than 500 samples from 80 different countries. CABI and Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA) scientists then diagnose the problem and report any new occurrences of pathogens they find. The following published reports contain examples of new occurrences discovered in 2012.

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Plantwise plant clinic at the Nairobi International Trade Fair

Visitor to the Plantwise stand at the Nairobi International Trade Fair
Visitor to the Plantwise stand at the Nairobi International Trade Fair © CABI

by Kimani Chege and Abigail Rumsey

Plant clinics have been running in Kenya since 2010. There are currently 35 clinics throughout Kenya, to which farmers can bring their crops and receive a diagnosis of the pest or disease that is causing them problems. These clinics are organized and run by the Ministry of Agriculture extension services with support from the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI), Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (KEPHIS) and CABI. While plant clinics are mainly organized in marketplaces in Kenyan towns, they mostly interact with rural populations keen to get diagnosis of their crops and better their production. However, this October, for the first time, plant doctors had an interaction with urban farmers during the Nairobi International Trade Fair. Continue reading

Plant doctor in Tanzania uses the Plantwise Knowledge Bank to diagnose crop diseases

A plant doctor in Tanzania advising a farmer on his crop
A plant doctor in Tanzania advising a farmer on his crop. Photo taken by Peter Karanja © CABI

Mr Kimomwe H. Kimomwe, a plant doctor at the Lukozi plant clinic in Lushoto district, Tanzania explains in this video how he used the Plantwise Knowledge Bank to find out what problem a farmer had on his crop of cabbages. He showed the farmer the results from the diagnostic tool, and the farmer was able to identify which disease was affecting his plants.

The plant doctor was researching CABI Africa when he came across the Plantwise diagnostic tool. He said he has used this tool at the Nane Nane Agricultural Show, which is attended by farmers from Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda, and showed some university professors who were interested to find out about the tool.

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Plantwise plant clinics start up in China

Pilot plant clinic opened in Guangxi, Southwest China © CABI

A pilot scheme of Plantwise clinics has started in China. Huanhuan Wan and Caroline Scotter-Mainprize report on the success of the first clinic session in Southwest China.

China’s first Plantwise plant clinic was successfully established in Rongjiang town, Xing’an county, Guangxi province, Southwest China on 19 May 2012. A great number of local farmers arrived with problem crop samples to consult the plant doctors; Han Chuyuan, a vineyard owner, travelled more than 40km with his samples of pest-damaged vines and grapes. Continue reading