Truly international expertise on tomato production

By Rachael Russell

Rows of Tomatoes in a Greenhouse

Ep Heuvelink’s Tomatoes is part of CABI’s Crop Production Science in Horticulture series. First published in 2005, it became an essential resource for growers, extension workers, industry personnel, and horticulture students and lecturers. Since then, our knowledge on tomato has greatly increased; tens of thousands of scientific papers have been published and the tomato genome has been sequenced, reinforcing it as a model fruit-bearing crop. Great progress has been made in open field and greenhouse production, and in our understanding of tomato crop physiology, fruit quality and postharvest physiology.

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CABI helps Pakistan Museum of Natural History showcase scourge of noxious parthenium weed

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CABI in Pakistan is helping the Pakistan Museum of Natural History (PMNH) showcase the scourge of the noxious parthenium weed, otherwise known locally at ‘Gajar Booti’, to members of the public visiting its Bio Gallery exhibit.

Parthenium is regarded as one of the major threats to native species, environment and ecosystems in more than 48 countries around the world – including Pakistan where it is also considered as a risk to human health, biodiversity, agriculture, livestock, and food security.

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In the frame: fighting the scourge of parthenium weed in Pakistan

Parthenium in Pakistan
CABI scientists get to grips with the ‘superior weed’ Parthenium which in India costs around USD 6.7 billion per annum to clear from pastoral land.

CABI has recently shared its expertise in a new parthenium evidence note which highlights a list of recommendations to fight the highly-invasive weed can cause severe allergic reactions in humans and livestock, may harbour malaria-carrying mosquitoes, displace native plant species and reduce pasture carrying capacities by as much as 80% to 90%.

In this picture special, we commissioned photographer Asim Hafeez to capture CABI scientists in the field as part of research which is investigating whether or not the parthenium leaf beetle (Zygogramma bicolorata) can act as an effective biological control for parthenium which is threatening food security and livelihoods in Pakistan.

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Photo focus on fighting invasive plants on Socotra Natural World Heritage site

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Bushera Ahmed Abdulla is able to identify and remove tiny prosopis seedlings before the invasive plant can take root.

In this photo special we turn the spotlight on members of the community in the Socotra Archipelago, Yemen – including Bushera Ahmed Abdulla pictured above – who are working together with invasive species experts from CABI to help rid the region of devastating Invasive Alien Species (IAS) including common pest pear Opuntia stricta and prosopis.

Dr Arne Witt, CABI’s Coordinator: Invasive Species, is providing guidance to the local UNEP/GEF team and in extension to the Environmental Protection Authority (Socotra branch), the Socotra Office for Agriculture, the Hadiboh District and the Socotra Governorate, in the implementation of a cactus eradication programme on the continental island group – designated a UNESCO Natural World Heritage site in 2008.

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‘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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