Home gardening enthusiasts and farmers from as far as Rio Claro seized the opportunity to have their plant sicknesses diagnosed at a plant clinic hosted by Trinidad and Tobago’s Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries (MoALF) at its Farmers’ Training Centre in Centeno. After a in-depth one-on-one discussion with Ministry representatives from the Extension, Training and Information Services Division (ETIS), participants were each given a prescription sheet which captured a host of valuable information, including a description of the plant problem and the recommended control measures.
On the 6 of March 2017, the Honourable Minister of Agriculture Land and Fisheries of Trinidad and Tobago, Mr Clarence Rambharat, and his team met with CABI Plantwise Regional Coordinator, Dr. Yelitza Colmenarez and with the USDA representative for the Caribbean Mr. Wayne De Chi , in order to review and restructure Plantwise activities in the country. “Food security is one of our national priority areas and it’s important to keep supporting the Plantwise activities in the country in order to ensure farmers are getting the technical advice needed”, the Minister said.
Reblogged from the Trinidad Express.
A two day training on Plant Disease Diagnosis was conducted in the Department of Food, Faculty of Food and Agriculture, The University of the West Indies, St Augustine from July 13 to 14 to agricultural extension officers of Trinidad and Tobago.
The training was organised under the auspices of The UWI-RDI (Research Development Impact) funded project on ‘Promoting Agriculturally Important Microorganisms to Address the Challenges in Food Safety and Food Security in the Caribbean”. The training was attended by 23 agricultural extension officers of Trinidad and Tobago representing seven counties [St George, St David, St Andrew, County Caroni, Nariva/Mayaro, St Patrick West, County Victoria] of North Regional Administration and South Regional Administration, Research Division Central Experiment Station, Extension Training and Information Services Division and Agricultural Division of Tobago. During the training programme, the agricultural extension officers were trained to diagnose the various vegetable diseases caused by fungi, bacteria, viruses based on the symptom expressed in roots, stems, vascular tissues, leaves and fruits.
Contributed by Aldo Hanel and Naitram Ramnanan, CABI.
The Northern Range region in Trinidad and Tobago is not only home to the most pristine and untouched areas of the country but it also provides the best agroecological environment for christophene (chayote) production in the country. Follow up from a sample brought to a plant clinic in 2015 revealed that the disease known as Gummy Stem Blight, caused by the fungus Didymella bryoniae, was pervasive in christophene farms in the Northern Range. Government reports show that since the outbreak of this disease, christophene production has dropped significantly.
The latest episode of the Tech4agri web series focuses on a number of farmers who attended Plantwise plant clinics in Trinidad and Tobago and received follow-up visits from Plantwise and NAMDEVCO extension workers.
As CABI’s Naitram Ramnanan explains: “We decided to follow up by visiting the farmer in the field and then realised that it was a pervasive problem in the christophene-growing areas of the country.” Plantwise is now working with a group of christophene [chayote] farmers around Brasso Seco to develop sustainable solutions to the pests and diseases affecting their crops.
Article by Shamela Rambadan, CABI Country Coordinator.
In Trinidad and Tobago many Plantwise plant clinics have been implemented to provide free information and advice to smallholder farmers. To date there are 8 plant clinics in Trinidad and 2 are planned for Tobago. CABI Plantwise is partnered with the Ministry of Food Production with extension workers from the Ministry and the Department of Agriculture in Tobago trained by CABI to become plant doctors at local plant clinics. The plant doctors diagnose plant pest and diseases and provide recommendations as to the control. For plant samples that require further identification they are sent to the diagnostic facility at the Ministry of Food Production in Trinidad.
The plant clinic at St George West County Extension Office in Trinidad and Tobago recently received Merleen, a householder in desperate need to control the slug population on her prized Anthuriums. Merleen came to the clinic to seek advice to resolve the pest problem without the use of harsh chemicals. She noted that many of her Anthuriums died once the slugs started feeding on the leaves and has subsequently lost 24 out of 50 plants since the onset of the slug battle in September 2012. Merleen explained that in an attempt to control the slug population she would go out into her garden late at night armed with a flashlight to identify the slugs and table salt which she applied directly onto the slugs in order to destroy them. Despite a small reduction in population, the slugs kept coming back night after night. Continue reading
Caribbean banana farmers are abandoning fields where crops have been badly affected by Black Sigatoka disease. Black Sigatoka has badly affected several countries in the region, including Dominica, St. Lucia, Grenada and Guyana. Black Sigatoka is considered the most destructive disease of bananas and plantains and is caused by the fungus Mycosphaerella fijiensis. It first arrived in the Caribbean in 1991, and has since established and spread throughout the region. Severely infected leaves die, significantly reducing fruit yield and causing mixed and premature ripening of banana bunches. As part of the response to Black Sigatoka outbreaks in the Caribbean the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) provided an intensive training programme in management of the disease in Dominica back in June this year. The workshop trained technicians from Dominica, St. Lucia, Grenada, Guyana and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The Caribbean’s tropical climate with high rainfall and high humidity is conducive to the spread of Black Sigatoka, hence the training program focused on the management of the disease, including the strategic and careful use of fungicides in order to manage the disease while aiming to prevent fungicide resistance developing. Last year, FAO provided an expert from Cuba to assess the management efforts of each country in the Caribbean affected by the disease, and identify areas for improvement. For each country, a management and action plan was created in conjunction with the CARICOM Secretariat, the OECS Secretariat, the Caribbean Agricultural Research & Development Institute (CARDI), Inter-American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA), CIRAD, the Ministry of Food Production in Trinidad & Tobago and the Banana Board of Jamaica.