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

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

urban ag
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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Update: Plant Health News (02 Dec 15)

TheGates Foundation has approved funding  for KAUST to conduct research into eradicating witchweed in sub-Saharan Africa. (IITA)
The Gates Foundation has approved funding for research into eradicating witchweed in sub-Saharan Africa. (IITA)

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including a boost for parasitic weed research in Africa from the Gates Foundation, benefits of modern farming come to Peru and a surge in climate change-related disasters posing a growing threat to food security.

Click on the link to read more of the latest plant health news!
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World Food Prize 2015

Fazle Hasan Abed. Photo: BRAC, via Wikimedia Commons
Sir Fazle Hasan Abed. Photo: BRAC, via Wikimedia Commons

Earlier this month, Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, founder and chairman of BRAC, was awarded the 2015 World Food Prize, which honours contributions to the improvement of food supply. BRAC (formally Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee) is the largest development organisation in the world and has been working to enhance food security and alleviate poverty since it was founded by Sir Fazle in 1972. For over 40 years, BRAC, which operates in 11 countries around the world, has implemented a range of development programmes that have benefited nearly 150 million people. Sir Fazle (pictured, left) has applauded these people as “the real heroes” in the BRAC story.  Continue reading

Behind the scenes of Plantwise plant clinics in Uganda

PhD student, Andrew Tock, of the Warwick Crop Centre, has spent three months monitoring Plantwise plant clinic success in Uganda as part of a BBSRC-funded Doctoral Training Partnership. During this time, he kept a research diary (video above), describing his experiences in Uganda and the day-to-day work of plant doctors in the field.

To read an interview with Andrew, visit the BBSRC website: