Contributed by Stefan Toepfer, CABI Switzerland with Peter Karanja, CABI Africa
Tanzanian frontline agricultural extension workers had an opportunity to refresh and improve their skills in diagnosing crop health problems of small holder farmers during a practical training course in Morogoro, Tanzania. This was part of a set of trainings provided by Plantwise Tanzania, which certifies extension workers as plant doctors, enabling them to operate local plant clinics. Kija Edith is one of the trained plant doctor who has been running a plant clinic over the past year in a village market in Kiroka, Central Tanzania. She explains her experiences identifying pest problems and advising farmers to one of Africa`s most experienced Plantwise trainers, Peter Karanja from CABI Africa. Watch the video and find our more at www.plantwise.org
Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including measures taken against Banana Xanthomonas Wilt in Tanzania, new citrus varieties released in Brazil and GM cotton linked to rise in aphid numbers.
Click on the link to read more of the latest plant health news!
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 →
Maize Lethal Necrosis disease, which was first reported in Kenya and Tanzania, has now spread to Uganda, raising concerns for food security in the country. The Ministry of Agriculture has warned that Maize Lethal Necrosis has been reported in districts in eastern Uganda, including Busia and Tororo.
A species of whitefly that transmits cassava mosaic virus has been detected in South Africa for the first time. The whitefly, Bemisia tabaci is a cryptic species complex containing some important agricultural pests and virus vectors. The term ‘cryptic species complex’ means that Bemisia tabaci is considered to be a complex of at least 24 different species that look almost identical but are in fact genetically different. Researchers from a range of organisations including the University of Johannesburg, the University of Witwatersrand and ARC-Vegetable and Ornamental Plant Institute conducted surveys to investigate the diversity and distribution of Bemisia tabaci species in 8 provinces in South Africa. The study aimed to update the information regarding the different Bemisia tabaci types present in the country.
According to IPP Media, over 8,000 people in 15 villages in Kagera region of Tanzania are in dire need of food relief following an outbreak of banana bacterial disease that has destroyed 90% of the banana crop. Bananas are the staple food for people in the region. Adam Malima, Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Food and Cooperatives, told the National Assembly earlier this week that the government has allocated 300 tonnes of maize to be distributed to people in the area.
Banana bacterial wilt (or “banana slim”) is easily spread through pollinating insects, tools and planting material. Disease management is notoriously difficult, often involving cultural methods that can be impractical for smallholders. One easy method of prevention involves breaking off the male flower bud using a fork-shaped stick.
The male flower bud is often where the bacteria enters the plant. Pollinating insects collect nectar from the bud and carry nectar from plant to plant, transferring the bacteria at the same time. Removing the male bud soon after formation of the last cluster stops insects from spreading the disease. A forked stick can be used to twist and break the bud. This is better than cutting the bud off with a knife which might spread the bacteria.