CABI scientists track wheat aphids and their natural enemies for better pest management in Pakistan

Aphids damaging wheat spikes
For the first time, CABI scientists have studied the distribution and population dynamics of wheat aphids and their natural enemies in Pakistan through seasons and periods of time. This research could be useful to develop better pest management methods and safer, healthier crops in wheat production. The two-year study led by Dr Muhammad Faheem across ten farms in five Punjab districts sought to discover the relationship between different timings, seasons, space and the presence of aphids and the insects that eat them – particularly syrphid flies – in varying deliberately-selected farming scenarios; combinations of rice, arid and cotton. Wheat aphids are well known pests of the cereal crop – causing up to 20 to 80% loss of wheat yield, particularly in Pakistan where over 26.3 million tons of wheat was produced in 2017-18 and where wheat accounts for 10 percent of value added in agriculture. The presence, spread or influx…
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Value of biological controls to fight crop pests highlighted at symposium in Chile

Yelitza Colmenarez conducting fields trials
The benefits of using biological controls to fight a range of crop pests threatening food security in the Neotropical region has been highlighted by CABI at the 4th Chilean Biological Control Symposium and the 1st Latin American Biological Control Symposium held this week in the city of Chillán, Chile. Dr Yelitza Colmenarez, Director CABI Brazil Centre and Regional Coordinator for the Plantwise Programme, delivered a keynote speech to delegates stating that invasive species and the introduction of new pests represents a major challenge for agricultural production in Central and South America and the Caribbean. She said the intensification of trade between Latin American and Caribbean countries with other regions, among other factors including climate change, has allowed the introduction of a large number of invasive species including the psyllids Diaphorina citri and Aleurocanthus woglumi which cause damage to citrus fruits, spotted wing drosophila Drosophila suzukii and the cotton bollworm Helicoverpa…
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Space-age pest monitoring pays dividends for farmers in Kenya

Susie Kitchens, Deputy High Commissioner, speaking at the launch
Space-age technology to provide farmers with an early warning of pest outbreaks, which could devastate their crops and livelihoods, is paying dividends by increasing yields and reducing losses for maize farmers in Kenya. Members of the CABI-led consortium, funded by the UK Space Agency and the Global Challenges Research Fund with co-funding from the CABI-led Plantwise programme, have updated officials in Kenya on the progress of the Pest Risk Information Service (PRISE) developed to alert farmers to pests including the maize stalk borer. During an official launch of PRISE this week at the Deputy British High Commissioner’s residence in Nairobi, CABI told a delegation, which included officials from the UK government, and the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Kenya, that maize farmers who received pest alerts are expected to experience fewer losses than those who had not partaken in the service. Research is currently being conducted to assess exactly…
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Plantwise’s efforts to increase food security in Bolivia praised by government

Dr Yelitza Colmenarez (fourth from right) with Mr Luis Alberto Alpire Sánchez (centre) receiving recognition for Plantwise from the Bolivian Government
The Bolivian Government has praised the CABI-led Plantwise programme, which helps farmers grow more and lose less to crop pests and diseases, for contributing towards the country’s efforts to increase its local, regional and national food security. Dr Yelitza Colmenarez (fourth from right) with Mr Luis Alberto Alpire Sánchez (centre) receiving recognition for Plantwise from the Bolivian Government Mr Luis Alberto Alpire Sánchez, Secretary for Agriculture, delivered a resolution to Dr Yelitza Colmenarez, Plantwise Regional Coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean, and Mr Ricardo Rodriguez, National Coordinator of Plantwise, thanking CABI for increasing sustainable production in the Santa Cruz Department – one of the most important agricultural production areas in Bolivia. Bolivia is rich in agriculture with key food crops including potato, corn, rice and grains, vegetables and fruits while coffee, sugar, cotton and cocoa form the basis of the country’s abundant cash crops. Livestock,…
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Partners step-up efforts to improve Pakistan’s food export capabilities to China and beyond

CABI is busy working in collaboration with the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science (CAAS) to help Pakistan’s Ministry for National Food Security & Research (MNFS&R) enhance the country’s capacity to increase food exports to China and other countries around the world. Dr Ulrich Kuhlmann, CABI’s Global Director, Operations, and Dr Babar Bajwa, Regional Director – CABI Central and West Asia, and a delegation from CAAS met with Federal Minister for National Food Security & Research Mr Sahibzada Muhammad Mehboob Sultan to move forward with plans to cooperate with agricultural research, capacity building of agro-scientists, regional pest management, quarantine facilities and technology transfer initiatives. The party, who recently convened in Islamabad, are stepping-up their collaboration agreed in November to enhance research and development – mainly in respect of increasing Pakistan’s Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures to enhance its exports – as part of the Belt & Road Initiative which aims to…
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Funding boost to help CABI ensure greater global food security

CABI has today received a funding boost from the UK Department for International Development (DFID) which will help it increase its efforts to help ensure global food security by stepping up the fight against crop pests and diseases. DFID has allocated CABI a share of a £61 million package to help equip millions more smallholder farmers around the world with the ability to grow more and lose less to crop pests and diseases, which are being exacerbated by the growing impacts of climate change. CABI’s global Plantwise programme, which has already supported over 30 million smallholder farmers with the knowledge and skills they need to improve their livelihoods and food security since its launch in 2011, will increase its reach by supporting 10 million more farmers over the next 10 years. CABI will now move forward to use the funding to continue the evolution of the programme to increase the…
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Fertilizer Optimization Tool to increase farmers’ yields highlighted at CODATA 2019 Conference

CABI has highlighted the benefits of digital agriculture, through the Fertilizer Optimization Tool, at the CODATA 2019 Conference in Beijing, China, including how the tool has increased some farmers yields seven-fold in Uganda. Henry Mibei and Lucy Karanja from CABI’s Kenya office in Nairobi, told delegates that the agricultural sector is facing multiple challenges – including a growing demand for food as the world’s population is predicted to reach 10 billion by 2050 – that are seriously affecting land degradation in Africa and require efficient approaches to increase productivity. CODATA 2019, whose focus this year was ‘Towards next-generation data-driven science: policies, practices and platforms,’ brought together data specialists from around the world intent on examining the global developments in how science is being transformed by new digital technologies and how their potential can be unlocked to help with issues such as food security. Mr Mibei said the rate of fertilizer application in…
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Strong partnerships towards global food security focus at CABI’s 20th Review Conference

Creating stronger partnerships to help build an inclusive and sustainable future for millions of smallholder farmers and greater global food security was the focus of CABI’s 20th Review Conference held on 12-13 September 2019 at the Runnymede Hotel in Egham, UK. Delegates from CABI member countries and partner organisations heard how creating stronger partnerships – with both the public and the private sectors – are key to reducing inequalities across the food value chain. The triennial event saw more than 100 delegates from 33 Member Countries, over 20 partner organisations and CABI, come together to endorse CABI’s next Medium-Term Strategy for 2020-2022 which is responding to the needs of member countries including those of female farmers, youth in agriculture and climate change-affected food systems. Dr Lutz-Peter Berg, Chair of CABI’s Executive Council, opened the meeting highlighting the conference theme - “Building an inclusive and sustainable future”. His remarks were followed…
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Script launches science communication award for Master’s degree students and graduates

Science-based Master’s degree students and graduates in Africa stand a chance to win an expenses-paid trip and two-day mentorship at The Conversation Africa by writing a clear, concise and jargon-free 800-word article about their research. The Script Science Communication Award, in collaboration with Script’s partner, The Conversation Africa, is open to scientists who complete the free ‘Media Skills for Scientists’ online course. The prize will cover one winner’s flights, accommodation and subsistence up to a value of €1,000. An experienced editor at The Conversation Africa will guide the winner to improve their article. SciDev.Net will publish the article in the Script section of its website and promote it on its social media channels. The runner-up will get remote support from The Conversation Africa in editing their article. The third, fourth and fifth best will get written feedback on how they could improve their articles. To enter the competition scientists should…
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CABI’s Global Health provides free open access to aid Hurricane Dorian recovery

CABI’s Global Health – the go-to bibliographic database for the study and practice of national, regional and international public health – is making relevant content available for free to support the international relief effort following Hurricane Dorian. The focused area on Global Health on natural disasters that covers aspects such as sanitation, diseases, vulnerable groups, nutrition and mental health will be made open access, as a way of contributing to the recovery from the storm which devastated the northern Bahamas. Fifty people have lost their lives in the Category 5 storm which hit the island on 1 September – with the majority of fatalities affecting residents on Great Abaco. Wind speeds reached 185mph and a storm surge as high as 23 feet was suffered as Prime Minister Hubert Minnis declared much of Abaco “decimated.” CABI is making this relevant Global Health content free to access for three months. It is…
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