‘Sowing the seeds’ for better cotton crops: a farmer case study

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Smallholder cotton farmer Mubarak Ali is reaping the benefits of CABI’s help and advice regarding the sowing of better quality seeds for more productive and profitable cotton crops.

Cotton is Pakistan’s largest industrial sector and is a principle cash crop to millions of smallholder farmers who rely upon it to earn their livelihoods.

However, per acre yield and the profitability of the crop is dependent upon the quality of the sown seed as part of the principles of Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and proper crop management. Indeed, it is a sobering thought that the industry is losing between 10 to 15 percent of its value (around $350 million a year) through poor production, transport and storage practices.

Part of the problem stems from the poor selection of healthy seed with a high germination ratio. Usually in Pakistan, seed is available in local markets which are not properly checked by the agriculture department as well as by farmers for quality and germination before sowing. To break this mindset, CABI is trying to train farmers to follow a more scientific way, bringing about a change in their routine agricultural practices and adopting a better way to grow cotton.

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Phytosanitary Risk Management team share expertise at ESCON 2019

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Delegates at the International Conference on Environmental Toxicology and Health (ESCON) who met recently in Islamabad, Pakistan.

An entomologist from CABI’s Phytosanitary Risk Management (PRMP) team has participated in the International Conference on Environmental Toxicology and Health (ESCON 2019) held in Islamabad, Pakistan.

Muzammil Farooq, representing the PRMP team, participated in the event – organized by the Department of Environmental Sciences, COMSATS University (CUI), Vehari campus – by giving a presentation entitled ‘Environment Conservation and Next Generation Pest Management Model for Cydia pomenella (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae) – Pakistan (Balochistan province) Perspectives.’

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Reaping the harvest: Sustainable tea production in India picture special

Promoting sustainable tea in India
Photo (Copyright CABI): India’s tea accounts for around 27 percent of the world’s tea production – but like all crops it is susceptible to attack from pests and diseases.

Recently CABI scientists revealed that India’s tea – which accounts for around 27 percent of the world’s tea production and where in 2016 exports of 232.9 mn kg were worth Rs 4,493 crore, could be protected from devastating crop pests with more environmentally-friendly and sustainable biological controls rather than an over reliance on pesticides.

In this photo special, we present a range of images taken at the Hoolungooree Tea Estate in Assam, India, which charts the process of the harvest including, when and where necessary, the need to apply pest control methods before the tea leaves are ready to go from field to cup for consumers around the world to enjoy.

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Trichogramma evanescens, a biocontrol agent to control apple codling moth in apple orchards – first record from Pakistan

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Apple codling moth and apple spider mites are one of most serious pests of different fruits, especially its deleterious effects on apple trees, which poses economic threat to apple production in the region. Codling moth was recorded as the most serious insect pest of the apple industry in Balochistan when the project conducted a baseline survey in 2015.

The USAID-funded Phytosanitary Risk Management Programme (PRMP), in collaboration with Agriculture Research Institute (ARI) Quetta, initiated activities to develop and deploy a biological control program for apple codling moth. The aim is to provide safe and healthy apple fruits for human consumption and to develop biological control techniques to control apple codling moth in apple orchards of Balochistan.

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When a Hollywood star came to CABI

By Teddy Searight

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Left: Harry Evans, CABI, Right: Kal Penn, Hollywood actor and presenter

The online market place goliath, and newly emerging leader in film and TV programme production, Amazon, visited CABI’s centre in Egham, UK to shoot footage for a new Amazon Prime Original series called This Giant Beast that is the Global Economy.

The globe-spanning docuseries brings the smart, stylized storytelling of Adam McKay’s The Big Short to a quirky and compelling exploration of the global economy.

With comedian and actor Will Ferrell as Executive Producer the eight part docuseries takes a deep dive into the murky, worrying and, at times, funny side of our interconnected world. During the third episode dedicated to the rubber industry, CABI’s expertise on rubber leaf blight is featured to explain how a little fungus could possibly bring down the global economy.

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Can a ‘diet’ of digital data really help feed the world?

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Last week (29 January 2019) CABI was awarded a $1.49 million grant from the Gates Foundation to work with them to help increase food security in India and Ethiopia through better access to data on soil health, agronomy and fertilizers.  In this blog Communications Manager Wayne Coles looks at whether or not the use of digital data in agriculture can have a real impact on our need to feed the world….

The facts are clear; if we’re to stand any chance of feeding a global population of around 9.1 billion by 2050 we must make better use of ‘digital data’ to unlock the potential of more than 570 million smallholder farmers around the world.

The complexity of Africa’s growing food problem, which is exacerbated by social and climatic factors, should not be underestimated. Its population, for example, will exceed 42 million a year over the next three decades while a rise in extreme weather events will wreak havoc on farming communities already grappling with threats to crop yields from a range of agricultural pests and diseases.

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Fertilizer Optimization Tool helps return son to teacher training school

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FOT pays off for Charles Wafula who is now able to help his son continue teacher training

By Monica Kansiime, Scientist Seed Systems, based at CABI in Nairobi, Kenya

In a previous blog post I outlined how the Fertilizer Optimization Tool (FOT) is paying dividends for farmers – helping them, in some cases, to report a seven-fold increase in their yields.

Charles Wafula is a farmer and resident of Buhehe in Uganda who is just one example of how FOT is helping to increase his fortunes and benefit his family – in particular he is now able to pay his son’s fees so he can continue to train as a school teacher.

Approaching Mr Wafula’s home, you get a feeling of a committed farmer. I find him sitting in his compound with various sized fruit trees providing shade and a cool ambiance. He doesn’t not take long after a brief introduction to tell me his success story of utilising FOT.

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