Do you like your coffee wilted?

According to CABI’s Peter Baker at the recent ISEAL Conference the International coffee community may be failing farmers in providing them with support in adapting to upcoming climate risks.


Changes in the climate can have dire consequences for farmers within developing countries. They can change the distribution ranges of insect pests, causing pests to migrate into new areas which are not prepared for them. Farmers may not have the knowledge to identify these new insect pests and take appropriate action to reduce the harm that they can cause to their crops.

As part of the Plantwise initiative CABI is increasing support to farmers face-to-face via a network of plant clinics in the developing world and also via a comprehensive global knowledge bank. Specially trained ‘plant doctors’ help farmers identify problems affecting their crops. Advice and treatment recommendations are offered along with information on the disease in local languages in the form of factsheets, leaflets and posters, an example being Coffee wilt disease.

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Afghan opium harvest halved by blight

A mysterious disease is blighting Afghan opium poppy (Papaver somniferum) destroying nearly half of the opium harvest in 2010, according to a report published in September by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. Production in 2010 was at its lowest level since 2003, estimated at 3,600 tonnes – a 48% decrease from 6,900 tonnes in 2009. Reduced harvests could boost profits for insurgent groups such as the Taliban and fuel their propaganda war against US troops, but it may also provide an opportunity to persuade Afghan farmers to focus on growing alternative crops.