Sowing the ‘seeds’ for the agricultural scientists of tomorrow

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Stella Agyemang, Professor Jozsef Kiss, Bulgan Andryei and Paul Chege (Photo: N. Nisha)

By Professor Jozsef Kiss, Szent István University

CABI has a long history of nurturing talented scientists who will one day join the bank of researchers with the shared interest of trying to help farmers lose less of what they grow to agricultural pests and diseases.

One only has to think of my colleague Dr Stefan Toepfer, an expert in biocontrol at CABI, who is currently supervising Szabolcs Toth – a PhD student at our Plant Protection Institute of the Szent István University in Gödöllő, Hungary (SZIE) trying to improve our understanding behind successes and failures in controlling western corn rootworm in Europe and North America.

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Loved and loathed: the bitter-sweet attraction of the world’s cacti in sharp focus

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A biotype of the cochineal, Dactylopius opuntiae, feeds solely on Opuntia stricta

Depending on which side of the fence you sit, cacti, in all its various forms, are either loved or loathed as ornamental delights or prickly pests that can devastate ecosystems, wildlife, and livelihoods.

The issue was in the spotlight recently when an article published on the BBC News Science & Environment website ‘Prickly cactus species ‘under threat’ brought the issue of the cacti’s plight in sharp focus.

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Exciting imaginations: New media formats to reach women and young people with agricultural extension messages

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Women keep in touch through the power of radio

Campaigns create greater equality of access to information across farming households, but formats are as important as channels, argue Duncan Sones of the Africa Soil Health Consortium (ASHC) delivery team…

The ASHC campaign-based approach explored the use of a variety of channels to build multiple media campaigns. ASHC has been testing the hypothesis that the more varied the channels of information reaching a farming household – the more likely they’re to trial or adopt new technologies. For example, evidence collected from the outcome evaluation of the Scaling-up Improved Legumes Technologies (SILT) in Tanzania suggested this is the case.

What we’re doing is increasing the equality of access to information. Over the next 18 months we’ll be looking for evidence that greater access to information, especially by women and young people, changes the conversations in farming households.

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Boosting cocoa production through improved pest management

Reblogged from ACIAR

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PNG is benefiting from integrated pest and disease management strategies that are reducing incidences of cocoa pod borer and ensuring profitable cocoa crops.

More than 150,000 households in PNG depend on cocoa for their livelihoods. Families and communities rely on the income generated from their cocoa crops to buy food, making it an important industry for the nation’s food security.

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Overcoming cotton insect/pests through Natural Enemies Field Reservoir (NEFR) technology in Pakistan

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The CABI team at Mr Ahmad’s farm where he installed NEFR technology

Cotton is one cash crop of Pakistan which is attacked by a number of pests including sucking (aphid, jassid, white fly) piercing (mites), cutting (white ant) and chewing (boll worms). Izhar Nabi Sehto of Kurkuli village, district Sanghar of Sindh province, said the only option that comes readily to the farmer’s mind when looking for a control and management solution is pesticide.

But CABI in Pakistan, under the Better Cotton Initiative project, is providing training to farmers to help bring a change in their traditional approach to pest control and management. CABI recommends the use of more environment-friendly practices such as light traps, sticky traps and pheromone traps but above all is use of the Natural Enemies Field Reservoir NEFR technology.

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CABI warns of rapid spread of crop-devastating fall armyworm across Asia

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Scientists discuss various plant diseases with local farmers as they attend ‘plant clinics’ in India. Photo: CABI

CABI scientists have today warned of the impending rapid spread of the crop-devastating pest, fall armyworm, across Asia following its arrival in India, with major crop losses expected unless urgent action is taken. The warning comes following a pest alert published this week by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) on the website of one of its bureaux, NBAIR, confirming the discovery of fall armyworm in the southern state of Karnataka. CABI scientists warned Asia was at risk from fall armyworm following the pest’s rapid spread across Africa in 2017.

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Plant Parasitic Nematodes – the world’s most important crop pathogen?

By Richard Sikora, Danny Coyne, Johannes Hallman and Patricia Timper

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Plant parasitic nematodes – overlooked, neglected, little known and mostly out of sight; surprising then that they cause billions of dollars’ worth of damage to global crop production annually.  In the tropics and subtropics they persistently undermine production, result in massive waste of disfigured and unmarketable produce, and literally plague some crops.

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