Citrus Greening in Grenada

Citrus Greening, also known as Huanglongbing, was first confirmed in Grenada in 2016. The disease is caused by bacteria which are spread by the Citrus psyllid. The disease causes yellow blotchy mottling on leaves, small lopsided fruit and branch dieback, making the tree uneconomical. Due to Citrus greening’s potential to devastate Citrus yields, Grenada’s Ministry of Agriculture has launched a campaign to control the disease, which has been detected in almost every area of the island. In the video above, Thaddeus Peters, Agricultural Officer for the MoA’s Pest Management Unit, explains the importance and methods of controlling Citrus Greening.  Continue reading

Factsheet of the month: September 2015 – Control of Black Rot in Cabbage

20157800494Black rot is considered the most important disease of crucifers across the world and can attack its host at any stage of growth. Cauliflower and cabbage are the most readily affected crucifer hosts and suffer significant yield loss as a result of the disease. On cabbage, black rot causes yellow to brown V-shaped lesions to develop on the edges of leaves and move inwards towards the midrib. As the disease progresses, the lesions turn darker, and leaves may wilt and fall from the plant. In the advanced stages of the disease, veins in the affected area will darken.

The disease is causes by a bacteria, Xanthomonas campestris pv. campestris, which can be spread via wild hosts, water or, most commonly, infected seed. Even symptomsless plants may produce infected seed so it is important to try to source certified disease-free seed before planting. For more information about how to control this disease, read September’s Factsheet of the Month, Control of Black Rot in Cabbage, which has been written by staff from the Ministry of Agriculture in Grenada.

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Plant Health Rallies to help control West Indian fruit fly in Grenada

Paul Graham, Pest Management Officer, demonstrates how to prepare the trap (Photo courtesy of Paul Graham)
Paul Graham, Pest Management Officer, demonstrates how to prepare the trap (Photo courtesy of Paul Graham)

Two Plant Health Rallies have recently been held in Grenada to raise awareness of the West Indian Fruit fly and promote the control of this pest using fruit fly bait stations. The rallies, which were organised in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, were aimed at local farmers with the first attracting 25 attendees and the second around 12. The farmers were given practical advice on how to make and use bait stations which they were able to take away with them afterwards. Thaddeus Peters (MoA) presented at one of the rallies explaining what damage the West Indian fruit fly causes and how the MoA and farmers can both play a part in controlling the pest.  Continue reading

Black Sigatoka Ravages Caribbean

Symptoms of the devastating disease Black Sigatoka on banana leaves. Image by CIAT International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CC-BY-SA 2.0)
Symptoms of the devastating disease Black Sigatoka on banana leaves. Image by CIAT International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CC-BY-SA 2.0)

Caribbean banana farmers are abandoning fields where crops have been badly affected by Black Sigatoka disease. Black Sigatoka has badly affected several countries in the region, including Dominica, St. Lucia, Grenada and Guyana. Black Sigatoka is considered the most destructive disease of bananas and plantains and is caused by the fungus Mycosphaerella fijiensis. It first arrived in the Caribbean in 1991, and has since established and spread throughout the region.   Severely infected leaves die, significantly reducing fruit yield and causing mixed and premature ripening of banana bunches.  As part of the response to Black Sigatoka outbreaks in the Caribbean the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) provided an intensive training programme in management of the disease in Dominica back in June this year. The workshop trained technicians from Dominica, St. Lucia, Grenada, Guyana and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The Caribbean’s tropical climate with high rainfall and high humidity is conducive to the spread of Black Sigatoka, hence the training program focused on the management of the disease, including the strategic and careful use of fungicides in order to manage the disease while aiming to prevent fungicide resistance developing. Last year, FAO provided an expert from Cuba to assess the management efforts of each country in the Caribbean affected by the disease, and identify areas for improvement. For each country, a management and action plan was created in conjunction with the CARICOM Secretariat, the OECS Secretariat, the Caribbean Agricultural Research & Development Institute (CARDI), Inter-American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA), CIRAD, the Ministry of Food Production in Trinidad & Tobago and the Banana Board of Jamaica.

There are factsheets available on Black Sigatoka and it’s management on the Plantwise Knowledge Bank, with factsheets in French, Spanish and English. Click here to see them. 

References:

‘FAO supporting battle against dreaded banana disease’, Dominica News Online, June 2013

‘FAO supporting battle against Black Sigatoka’, St Lucia Mirror Online, June 2013

‘St Vincent and the Grenadines: Banana farmers ‘abandoning fields’’, BBC News, August 2013

Plantwise 2012 Highlights

Plantwise 2012 Logo

As we move into the New Year and all that 2013 has to offer it seems like a good time to review some of the achievements of 2012 . Here are a few of the Plantwise highlights of 2012!

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MoU Signed in Grenada

Lizz Johnson and Michael Lett holding the MoU that outlines how the Ministry of Agriculture and CABI will work together to bring Plant health system to Grenada and provide information to the Plantwise Knowledge Bank.

Plant clinics are now a reality in Grenada.  Phil Taylor and Lizz Johnson recently travelled to Grenada to give Module 2 of the Plantwise “How to be a Plant doctor” training and additional  exercises in data management.  The week-long course involved a brief recap of what was learned in Module 1 (symptom recognition and description) and then moved onto how to make recommendations in response to farmers’ pest and disease problems. CABI courses encourage non-chemical control of pests and diseases but also acknowledges the importance of chemical inputs in food production. Module 2 studies cultural control measures as well as the use and the modes of action of various chemicals so that they can be used judiciously and minimise the likelihood of resistance.  The course involves a visit to local agro-chemical suppliers in the area to alert them of the Plantwise initiative and to begin dialogue with them and to incorporate them into a true plant health system. In each case the trainees were well received and the dealers were keen to learn more and become involved in the initiative. Continue reading