Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle on Guam – an update

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An adult male coconut rhinoceros beetle. Emmy Engasser, Hawaiian Scarab ID, USDA APHIS ITP, Bugwood.org

10 years ago the Coconut Rhinoceros beetle (CRB) was first discovered on the western Pacific island of Guam. Since then, these shoe-shine black, miniature invaders have spread to all parts of the island and are laying waste to the local coconut and oil palm population. The economy, culture and ecology  of Guam and other Pacific islands are intrinsically linked to the native palm species such that the rhino beetle poses a major threat. The indigenous peoples of Guam have a long history of weaving palm fronds, an artistry that is now at risk due to the rhino beetle. These trees are a symbol of tropic paradise, a motif that drives Guam’s primary industry; tourism. Continue reading

Myanmar Agricultural Extension adopts the Plantwise framework for its Plant Health System

by Kyin Kyin Win, Deputy National Plantwise Coordinator, Myanmar

The Myanmar Plant Health System Strategy (MPHSS) was launched successfully in Nay Pyi Taw on 8th September 2016.  It was officiated by H.E. Dr. Tun Win, the Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation (MOALI), and was attended by key officials of MOALI including the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Tin Htut. Dr. Tin Htut, who is also the CABI Liaison Officer for Myanmar, had earlier advised the CABI country team to write the PHSS as a strategic document based on the Plantwise framework to transform and catalyse the required reforms in the nascent agricultural extension of Myanmar. Plantwise has been operational in the country since 2014. When the evaluation results of the pilot phase of Plantwise were reviewed and presented by the Plant Protection Division and CABI, MOALI officials were convinced that internalising the Plantwise approach could substantially contribute to increasing the efficiency of and having impact on the desired changes of the Myanmar plant health extension.

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Plantwise Vietnam training on data validation, processing and analysis

Reblogged from Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences news

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During 3-day training workshop, participants learnt how to validate Plantwise diagnoses and recommendations and how to analyze data from Vietnam stored on the Plantwise Knowledge bank. This activity is useful and necessary for the staff working in plant protection because they can examine and evaluate skills and qualifications of Plant doctors and also can have an overall vision and panorama picture about pest and diseases of each plant in each region of the project.  Thus, the need for training of Plant doctors could be identified with the aim to enhance their skills and knowledge, to diagnose more accurately pests, and to improve the quality of advice helping farmers prevent effectively pests and diseases, while ensuring safety for people and environment.

Read the full article the Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences website→

Where did black sigatoka come from?

Effects of black sigatoka on plantain leaves in Colombia © Neil Palmer (CIAT)

Black sigatoka, or black leaf streak disease, a disease of bananas and plantains caused by the fungus Mycosphaerella fijiensis, has caused widespread losses to banana crops over the past 50 years. A new study of the phylogeography of black sigatoka on banana leaves from around the world has helped to elucidate the recent origins of this fungal disease. Continue reading

New plant disease records from CABI scientists in 2011

Pustules of the potato deforming rust, Aecidium cantense, on an African eggplant leaf © Fen Beed, CGIAR

In 2011, CABI scientists helped to discover new occurrences of disease-causing phytoplasmas and fungi in Africa, Asia and Oceania. Our scientists, based in Egham in southeast England, provide the Plantwise diagnostic service free of charge to developing countries to support the plant clinics, which give advice to farmers with plant health problems. They work in collaboration with scientists from other institutions around the world to diagnose diseases that can’t be identified in the country that the diseases are found.

As farmers monitor their crops for pests and diseases, new discoveries are being made all the time. New species of pest are found, known pests pop up in a new place or find homes on new plant species. Increased globalisation has facilitated the spread of many pests; more complex trade and travel networks have led to more opportunities for pests to hitch a ride to a new place. Changes in climate can also change the suitability of regions to pests, leading to a spread to locations not previously threatened. When it has been confirmed that a pest has been found in a new place or on a new plant host, our scientists publish their report in a peer-reviewed journal such as New Disease Reports to communicate their findings to the wider scientific community. The following records are those co-authored by CABI scientists in 2011. Continue reading