By Katie Tomlinson. Reblogged from the Cabot Institute blog.
Two weeks ago I organised a visit to a plant clinic in the Mukono district of central Uganda. The plant clinics are run by district local government extension staff with support from CABI’s Plantwise programme and offer a place where farmers can bring crop samples to get advice on how to prevent and cure diseases.
Why does Uganda need plant clinics?
It’s estimated that smallholder farmers loose 30 – 40% of their produce to plant health problems before harvest, which threaten food security, income and livelihoods. Ugandan farmers suffer heavily from pests and diseases, including maize stalk borer, wheat rust, banana bacterial wilt, coffee wilt and cassava viral diseases. The situation is always changing, as outbreaks of disease emerge and persist across the country.
Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including native ants helping to improve cocoa yields in Indonesia, unseasonal rains affecting crops in India and local mangoes in the Philippines declared free from mango seed weevil.
PhD student, Andrew Tock, of the Warwick Crop Centre, has spent three months monitoring Plantwise plant clinic success in Uganda as part of a BBSRC-funded Doctoral Training Partnership. During this time, he kept a research diary (video above), describing his experiences in Uganda and the day-to-day work of plant doctors in the field.
Delegates from over twenty-six countries attended last Thursday’s side event jointly-hosted by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) Secretariat and the CABI-led Plantwise programme which served the goals common to both organizations: empowering countries to protect crops, thereby increasing food security.
The event on the evening of April 2ndat Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN headquarters brought together key plant health stakeholders of the IPPC there to attend the 9th Commission on Phytosanitary Measures (CPM).
Agricultural officials from the governments of Sri Lanka, Uganda and Kenya stood and presented their own experiences of establishing and tapping into Plantwise resources to support their daily roles in National Plant Protection Organizations (NPPOs). Back home, these presenters’ all work for the NPPOs whose activities cover a range of different plant health roles, including extension, research and phytosanitary quarantine. Continue reading →
Plant health stakeholders from across East Africa met in Nairobi for the first ever workshop hosted by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) Secretariat and Plantwise. Watch as attendees exchange national experiences in plant protection using resources from Plantwise and the IPPC in the process. They renew strategies for greater coordination on plant health, face common challenges, and share plant pest strategies from across the region, all to support trade, food security and the environment.
Delegates from around the world convene at FAO headquarters for CPM9, many of which will attend tonight’s side-event to hear of joint activities and how partners are using resources to work together in Sri Lanka, Uganda and Kenya.
Check out this great coverage of Plantwise coming out of Uganda. Working with the University of Makerere, Plantwise is training young plant doctors to answer the increasing demand for plant clinics across all regions. National television station UBC news interviewed CABI’s Joseph Mulema and key partners on this major development for extension and smallholder farmer services in the country.