With a strong emphasis on making sure gender is embedded within the entire programme, Plantwise Pakistan has been actively pursuing the participation of more women in its activities and implementation. Realising the important role of females in agricultural development and the need to build their own capacity, the Agriculture Department of Punjab nominated 12 female agriculture officers from different districts to attend a recent Plantwise training session. The continuous increase in attendance of women is positive news for both Plantwise and Pakistan.
By Eduardo Hidalgo, Project Scientist, CABI South America
The Mosquitia is a territory of 16,997 km², located on the Caribbean coast of Honduras and inhabited mainly by the indigenous Miskito, Tawahka, Pech, and Garífuna ethnic groups. Of the 100,000 inhabitants, 36% are Miskitos who depend mainly on agriculture and fishing. The Mosquitia is one of the last virgin regions of Central America and one of the biologically richest areas of the planet, housing the Reserve of the Biosphere of Platano River, classified in 1982 as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The Mosquitia is considered the poorest region of Honduras. As there are no roads, the only way to access the area is by air or by boats locally called pipantes. These isolated conditions make it difficult for the population to access basic public services, including agricultural assistance.
La Mosquitia es un territorio de 16.997 km², ubicado en la costa del Caribe de Honduras y habitado principalmente por las etnias indígenas misquita, tawahka, pech y garífuna. La población es de 100,000 habitantes de los cuales el 36% son misquitos y sus principales actividades son la agricultura y la pesca. La Mosquitia es una de las últimas regiones vírgenes de Centro América y una de las áreas biológicamente más ricas del planeta, albergando la Reserva de la Biosfera del Rio Plátano, clasificada en 1982 como Patrimonio de la Humanidad por la UNESCO. La Mosquitia es considerada la región más pobre de Honduras. Como no hay carreteras, la única forma para acceder el área es por vía aérea o por el rio, en botes localmente llamados pipantes. Estas condiciones de aislamiento dificultan el acceso de la población a servicios públicos básicos incluyendo la asistencia agrícola.
CABI has initiated activities with Koppert Biological Systems to increase the fight against crop pests and diseases which threaten the food security and livelihoods of thousands of farmers and their families in Kenya.
CABI has signed a collaboration agreement with Koppert to deliver more Plantwise plant doctor training in Kenya, with funding from the Koppert Foundation. This includes plans to further raise the awareness and promotion of biocontrol methods as part of integrated pest management (IPM) advice given to farmers.
Plant clinics in Vietnam have received a major boost with the introduction of digital devices to facilitate the work of plant doctors. The use of tablets and smartphones has been proven to help plant doctors improve the quantity and quality of data generated from plant clinic operations. With improved ICTs, the captured data from plant clinics can be added swiftly to the Plantwise Online Management Systems (POMS) and managed from one device. Prior to this, plant clinic operations were dependent on a paper-based system of recording pest and disease data provided by farmers during clinics.
Plantwise has been active in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) since 2006. It has been doing admirable work with the cocoa growers of ESCO Kivu and the “Universite Catholique du Graben” in North Kivu province in the last 5 years. However, since November 2013, the focus has been on getting the central government figures of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fishing and Livestock (“Ministere de l’Agriculture, Peche et Elevage”) on board in order to develop a sustainable plant clinic structure in the country.
In December 2013, Plantwise trained 20 staff from the Crop Protection department (Direction pour la Production et Protection des Vegetaux), and 3 staff from the Extension Department (Service National de Vulgarisation) as plant doctors that will operate plant clinics. These plant clinics are designed to give the best recommendation for a given crop problem.
On the 24th May 2014, the Plantwise DRC clinic programme was officially launched in CECOMAF, the central commune of the Kinshasa province, by the General Secretariat of the Ministry of Agriculture, Hubert Ali Ramazani, alongside the Crop Protection, Extension and Quarantine deputies. Representatives from other donors, such as the FAO, the World Bank and the Fonds Belge de Sécurité Alimentaire, all the trained plant doctors (shown below in their white blouses), as well as Radio television Nationale du Congo (the national News Network) and Radio Okapi (UN sponsored radio station) were also in attendance for this momentous occasion. Click here to listen to radio coverage of the event (French language).
Five weekly clinics are scheduled to take place in the Province of Kinshasa and will remain in place till the end of 2014. Continue reading →
Since the launch of Plantwise in Zambia last year, much progress has been made to build capacity within the national plant health system. In collaboration with the Zambia Agriculture Research Institute (ZARI), CABI staff have successfully trained crop officers and extension staff from the Department of Agriculture, ZARI, and Self Help Africa on ‘how to be a plant doctor’. In addition to this, training on development of pest management decision guides and factsheets has produced content that will be made available on the Plantwise knowledge bank for other plant doctors to use. A workshop on data management has also been run, training plant health experts in recording data at plant clinics, data harmonization, validation, analysis and sharing. Continue reading →