Update: New Pest & Disease Records (5 Jan 18)

Invasive Golden apple snail (Pomacea canaliculata) eggs on freshwater aquatic plant (© Dr. Raju Kasambe)

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 the golden apple snail (Pomacea canaliculata) in Iraq, the first report of Ceratocephalus falcatus smut caused by Urocystis eranthidis and a new species of thrip (Genus: Odontothrips) in China. Continue reading

Afghan Ministry of Agriculture to conduct nationwide plant pests and diseases survey

Deputy Minister Mir Amanudin Haidari speaking at Stakeholder Planning Workshop.
Image © Khaama Press

Afghanistan is highly dependent on agriculture but has been suffering from multiple plant pest and disease outbreaks. With this in mind, the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) has prioritized the identification all existing plant pests and diseases, to be followed by a prevention strategy. This has led to the launch of the ‘Nationwide Insect Pests and Plant Diseases Survey’. At a Stakeholder Planning Workshop, Deputy Minister Mir Amanudin Haidari said: “We have many diseases in Afghanistan and they have cost us a lot. They are even a trade barrier. Some diseases have been transmitted to our county. Identification and creating a database of such diseases are vitally important. It will enable us to prevent diseases like we had in melons in Takhar Province few years ago.”

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Keeping an eye on banana disease

The bacterial disease Xanthomonas wilt causes banana fruit to rot.
The bacterial disease Xanthomonas wilt causes banana fruit to rot © Pascale Lepoint / Bioversity International

Dr. Fen Beed is an experienced plant pathologist based at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. He leads research for development activities to mitigate the impact of diseases of maize, soybean, cowpea, cassava, banana and vegetables and promotes plant diseases on problematic weeds.

The first and critical step to manage a disease is to diagnose the causal agent(s). Once this is done, appropriate control methods can be deployed, based on available knowledge or on results generated from targeted research. IITA led an initiative to define the factors required to create a functioning disease surveillance network across a region.

The initiative targeted the two most serious threats to banana in the Great Lakes region of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA); namely banana Xanthomonas wilt (BXW), caused by the bacterium Xanthomonas campestris pv. musacearum (Xcm), and banana bunchy top disease (BBTD), caused by the banana bunchy top virus (BBTV). BXW and BBTD are established in several countries in SSA where banana production is of critical importance. Countries included were Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. In order, to strengthen both national and regional communication pathways, representatives from both national research organisations and national plant protection organisations agreed to form a network for regional surveillance of BXW and BBTD. The specific objectives were to share information on the diagnosis and management of these diseases and to map their distribution across locations that were of strategic importance to the region. Continue reading