Update: New Pest & Disease Records (7 Feb 18)

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Purple grape vineyard and rows (© CC0)

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 grapevine yellow speckle viroids in Nigeria, the first report of tomato ringspot virus (Secoviridae) in a vineyard in Ohio, USA and the first report of pepper vein yellow virus in Pakistan.

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Is It Time for Genetically Modified Bananas in Uganda?

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Banana plantation (© CABI)

Uganda is the world’s second largest producer of banana crop, with individuals consuming around 1.5 pounds of banana every day. Due to this major need for the success of banana crops within the country, plant pests and diseases are ever more threatening.

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Lead Battery Soil Contamination in Africa and the Implications on Plant and Human Health

Globally, battery manufacturing and recycling plants have been identified as the major sources of soil lead contamination that have resulted in lead exposure to neighbouring communities via the accumulation of lead within plants.

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Masai child next to Opuntia stricta (© CABI)

Lead is naturally found in soil in relatively low concentrations (10-50 mg/kg) in which it is taken up by plants via the roots and accumulates within root cells as lead is used in low levels by plants. Excessive lead concentrations found within plants have been shown to reduce the functionality of morphological, biochemical and physiological functions as well as promoting deleterious effects. For more detailed information on the effects of lead on plant health, see here.

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

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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

Shifting gears: expansion of e-plant clinics in Kenya

“No matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid!”  Passionate words spoken in 2014 during an indelible Oscar moment. The utterance of these words, coupled with the winning of an Academy Award, announced Lupita Nyong’o’s entry into the global stage. Two years later in Lupita’s country of origin, Kenya, long-held dreams in the plant health sector are realized.

Plant doctors (in green lab coats) attending to farmers at Kithumu plant clinic in Embu County

Indeed, the journey to realizing the usefulness of mobile technologies for the plant health sector has been long, and to some extent treacherous. Was the Plantwise program setting up the agricultural extension officers for failure? Was the program having unrealistic expectations? Could it be, in the program’s quest to keep up with the times, it was essentially building an ivory tower? All these were questions Plantwise grappled with in 2014 when it introduced mobile technologies for the running of plant clinics.

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CPM11 kicks off at the FAO in Rome

Contributed by Melanie Bateman, CABI

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Dr Rudy Rabbinge giving the keynote address ©FAO/Giulio Napolitano

On Monday 04 April 2016, the 11th of session of the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures (CPM) kicked off in Rome. The meeting began with opening remarks from Mr. Daniel Gustafson, FAO Deputy Director General of Operations, and a hearty welcome to the new IPPC Secretary, Mr. Jingyuan Xia.

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Tackling food security with urban agriculture

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The world population is projected to increase by an additional one billion people by 2030 with Africa and Asia accounting for the greater share of this population growth. According to UN reports, more than half of the world’s population currently live in urban areas. By 2030, it is expected that more than 70 percent of the world population will live in urban areas, especially in developing countries. The steady influx of people to urban areas has significantly increased the demand for food, water and shelter in cities and those who cannot afford these basic amenities are referred to as ’urban poor’.

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