Update: Plant Health News (16 Dec 15)

Access to markets is crucial for smallholder farmers ©USAID Egypt (CC BYNC)
Access to markets is crucial for smallholder farmers ©USAID Egypt (CC BY-NC)

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including typhoons and greening disease hitting China citrus crops, avocado exports threatened by phytosanitary problems in Mexico and the World Food Programme working to connect smallholder farmers to markets.

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The seed social network

More varieties of cowpea seed give farmers more resilience against environmental extremes © IITA

A new study by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) looking at cowpea crop diversity following floods and drought in Mozambique has shown that seed sharing networks are a valuable way to maintain, and often improve, crop diversity. Informal sharing and trade of seed within and between local communities in the Limpopo River Valley, Mozambique has been specified as the reason for a relatively quick recovery of cowpea crop diversity following floods and drought in the area in 2000. The study showed that farmers who grew ‘relief seed’ distributed by humanitarian agencies, or bought seed from the market did not have much diversity in their cowpea crops. However, the farmers who exchanged seed as they had done before the disasters contributed the most to restoration of cowpea diversity in the area.
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