This month sees the return of World Food Day which is celebrated annually on the 16th October, the day the Food and Agricultural Organisation was founded in 1945. This year’s theme, Family Farming, has been chosen to raise awareness of the role that family and smallholder farmers play in providing food security and achieving sustainable development. In the lead up to World Food Day, the World Development Movement is posting an A-Z of food sovereignty. The latest in this series was M for Mulching. Mulching is a widely-used technique amongst smallholder farmers who want to reduce soil erosion and water loss, and increase soil fertility. Another benefit of mulching is helping to reduce weed growth. This is is explained further in the Plantwise factsheet Preventing weeds in cassava. Cassava is a key staple crop in many countries so it is vital that yields are not affected by pests, including weeds. This factsheet was written in Sierra Leone by experts from the Sierra Leone Agricultural Research Institute (SLARI).
Recently Melanie Bateman of CABI Switzerland and Dr IMO Shamie, Sierra Leone’s Director of Crops and Plantwise National Coordinator, had the unique opporunity to sit down for a meeting with Sierra Leone’s Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, Dr Joseph Sam Sesay. During the meeting, Dr Sesay told his story of being the first customer at a plant clinic in Sierra Leone, and he gave some strong words of support for the Plantwise programme. Continue reading
This week, the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) is holding its 8th session of the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures (CPM8) at the FAO headquarters in Rome. This conference will be a chance for members to discuss current plant protection issues, particularly with regard to plant pests. Plantwise has been invited to host a side event at the conference. During this event, National Plant Protection Organisation (NPPO) representatives from several developing countries will share the work that they have done with Plantwise to develop plant health systems in their countries. Continue reading
As we move into the New Year and all that 2013 has to offer it seems like a good time to review some of the achievements of 2012 . Here are a few of the Plantwise highlights of 2012!
Plantwise works with in-country agencies to set up plant clinics, which farmers can attend with a sample of their affected crops to obtain a diagnosis and treatment advice. Plant clinics are often run in larger towns or villages, and farmers can travel many miles to talk to a plant doctor to solve their crop problems. So how do farmers find out about where and when the next clinic is running? I asked co-ordinators of plant clinics in Sierra Leone, Uganda and India about how clinics in their countries are advertised to farmers. Continue reading