What food security challenge could be solved with open access to data? CABI’s CEO and Plantwise representatives will join DFID, host USDA, and delegates from G8 countries in Washington, D.C. next week, April 29-30, to discuss putting the open exchange of knowledge at the heart of food security and global nutrition.
Maize Lethal Necrosis disease, which was first reported in Kenya and Tanzania, has now spread to Uganda, raising concerns for food security in the country. The Ministry of Agriculture has warned that Maize Lethal Necrosis has been reported in districts in eastern Uganda, including Busia and Tororo.
Plantwise, a global initiative run by CABI, was launched in Accra, Ghana last week. The initiative involves establishing plant clinics, which farmers can attend to get advice on plant health from trained plant doctors. In addition to the knowledge they acquire through the training programmes, these plant doctors can make use of the Plantwise Knowledge Bank which provides up-to-date information to best advise the farmer.
Following the launch, a review and planning workshop took place for stakeholders in the agricultural sector. The event attracted policy makers, extension workers, plant protection officers and researchers as well as private sector and non-governmental agencies who were all keen to share their knowledge and ideas on how to develop Plantwise activities in the country. Continue reading →
Technological innovation is becoming increasingly important in agricultural development and productivity. The use of mobile ICT (information and communication technology) in agriculture provides a more efficient and cost-effective method for sharing and exchanging knowledge more widely. Farmers are benefiting as they can access key information such as pest and disease reports, weather conditions and market prices. It can also improve communication between farmers and extensions workers, who are unable to visit farmers as often as both parties would like. Enhancing communication between farmers, extension workers, researchers and policy makers is essential to the improvement of agricultural efficiency.
Access to agricultural information especially crop pest information, e.g pest identity and practical control options, is an essential ingredient in increasing agricultural production in developing countries. Where available, such information is always inaccessible and poorly developed and farmers hardly understand the contents. The Knowledge Bank, which was launched in July 2012, is part of the wider Plantwise programme, an initiative led by CABI, to help smallholder farmers lose less of what they grow to insect pests and diseases. The Knowledge Bank is an online open-access resource and plays a key role in the access to a wide range of information on crop pests from international scientific literature to simple, actionable factsheets that the farmers can use to solve key pests problems they encounter. This connects both agricultural researchers, extension agents and the farmers in developing countries to reliable and appropriate plant health information wherever they may be. Visitors to the website are advised to sign up for new crop pest and plant health new alerts which are sent directly to their e-mails.
Agfax, a media based organization with millions of listeners throughout Africa who include farmers, traders, entrepreneurs, field workers – as well as research and development organizations, conducted an interview with me to broadcast on the website to enable wider reach to potential users of the Knowledge Bank. Continue reading →
Mr Kimomwe H. Kimomwe, a plant doctor at the Lukozi plant clinic in Lushoto district, Tanzania explains in this video how he used the Plantwise Knowledge Bank to find out what problem a farmer had on his crop of cabbages. He showed the farmer the results from the diagnostic tool, and the farmer was able to identify which disease was affecting his plants.
The plant doctor was researching CABI Africa when he came across the Plantwise diagnostic tool. He said he has used this tool at the Nane Nane Agricultural Show, which is attended by farmers from Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda, and showed some university professors who were interested to find out about the tool.