Plantwise wins the 2017 Bond Development Award for Innovation

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CABI’s Paul Day and Marin Hirschfeld (2nd and 3rd from left) accepting the award on behalf of Plantwise (Photo: Bond)

Bond, a UK association promoting, supporting and representing the work of international development organisations, announced the CABI-led Plantwise programme as the joint winner of its 2017 Innovation Award. The award showcases organisations, coalitions or initiatives that are taking inventive approaches as they chart a course through a complex and changing external environment in international development.

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Game changers: digital agriculture and new technologies

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Tablets being used at a Plantwise plant clinic in India. Photo: CABI

ICTs play a pivotal role in facilitating solutions for smallholder farmers and the markets they are trying to access. For GLOBALG.A.P., the world’s leading farm assurance program, the only way to make the auditing of the 160,000 farms it covers economically viable is through technological solutions. CABI’s Plantwise programme also relies on ICTs for collecting data from plant clinics and to share plant health knowledge via the Knowledge Bank. Similarly, the provision of micro-finance and insurance services for smallholder farmers has only been made possible through advances in mobile technology.

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Agricultural innovation framework agreed in Rwanda

Contributed by Rachel Winks, CABI.

Agricultural innovation framework agreed in Rwanda

The partner organisations of the Tropical Agriculture Platform (TAP) met in Kigali, Rwanda, on 19-21 January to agree a new concept for agricultural innovation: the common framework on capacity development for agricultural innovation systems. With growing global population and increased food demand, agricultural innovation can help improve food security, increase farmers’ incomes and protect use of natural resources. CABI has been a key contributor to the agricultural innovation framework, bringing valuable experience of its Plantwise food security programme to the platform.

The common framework includes concepts, methodologies, principles and tools to help people better understand and harness agricultural innovation. It emphasizes interconnectedness and the importance of bringing individuals and organisations together to co-create new knowledge.  Continue reading

Back to the future at CPM10

Contributed by Roger Day, CABI

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Photo: http://www.insigniam.com

CPM10 has heard how the Strategic Planning Group (SPG) indulged in a little well-considered phytosanitary “future-casting” at its 2014 meeting. Challenged by the secretariat to think about what the IPPC might look like 20 years from now, members came up with over 60 points for reflection, grouped into 7 areas:

  • Technology, innovation and data
  • Resource mobilisation
  • Advocacy and awareness through strong communication
  • Implementation, participation and collaboration
  • The IPPC as a centre of excellence and innovation
  • The IPPC contribution to food security, environmental protection and economic prosperity
  • Simplified regulatory environment for the complexities of future global trade

The CPM is frequently told that funding constraints limit activities, so it’s disappointing (if realistic) that the phyto-prophets don’t see this problem going away any time soon.

Looking a little less far into the future, 2020 could well be the very first International Year of Plant Health (IYPH). CPM enthusiastically endorsed the idea, so now the extensive planning has to begin, with details to be presented to CPM11.

And also with an eye to the future, plans are advancing for the development of an electronic phytosanitary certificate system, e-phyto. Despite some concerns over costs and cyber-security issues, many contracting parties are keen to get started, and a proposal has been submitted to the Standards and Trade Development Facility to fund the development work.

20 years ago the CPM’s forerunner, the Interim Commission, didn’t even exist. Could anyone then have foretold what CPM10 would be discussing?

Plantwise shortlisted for Olam Food Security Prize

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The CABI-led Plantwise programme has been named as a finalist for the Olam Innovation in Food Security Award! This award ‘aims to recognize an outstanding innovation for its potential impact on the availability, affordability, accessibility or adequacy of food, as well as to support its further development.’ As a programme now working in 34 countries, this is also a recognition of the efforts of all the Plantwise supporters and partners- over 168 worldwide- who make this innovation approach a reality in policy and practice. Together we have reached over 2 million farmers with the timely plant health information they need to lose less, and feed more- and this is only the beginning. The final award winner will be announced on March 16. Read the full Plantwise story published on Farming First.

Plant Health Rallies: Giving Rwandan agronomists the tools to inform the public

Plant Health Rallies: Giving Rwandan agronomists the tools to inform the public

In November 2013, three members of the CABI Plantwise team (Dr Noah Phiri and Peter Karanja of the Nairobi office, and Julien Lamontagne-Godwin of the UK office) visited Musanze in the Northern zone of Rwanda. 12 participants from the Rwanda Agricultural Board (RAB) were trained in techniques to inform the surrounding rural communities on serious pests and diseases of important crops, particularly maize stalk borer and Lethal Necrosis, and potato late blight. During the 4 day training, participants were taught to develop a simple extension message that can be announced clearly in less than ten minutes. This message explains the background to the problem, discusses symptoms, and recommendations to prevent or reduce its effects in the field.

In the picture above, Jeanne Priscille Ingabire uses a megaphone to alert the village of Bikara of an impending talk on maize stalk borer. Kalisa Jean Pierre (left) and Stanislas Mushimiyimana (right) both hold onto a banner to gain more public interest before the talk.

This technique complements the established plant clinics in the area, and will help the RAB team inform and help more people with their agricultural pests and diseases.