From the Hindu Business Line by L. N. Revathy
Archive for the ‘Technology transfer’ Category
Innovation That’s Making a Difference: Integrated Pest Management in South Asia
The Hon. Marty McVey is a member, appointed by the U.S. president, of USAID’s Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD).
The BIFAD advises and makes recommendations to the USAID Administrator on food security, development efforts, and implementation of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961. It also monitors progress.
During his second trip in January with the Feed the Future Innovation Lab: Collaborative Research on Integrated Pest Management (formerly the Integrated Pest Management Collaborative Research Support Program), McVey visited food security projects in India, Bangladesh and Nepal. India is a strategic partner with Feed the Future, and Bangladesh and Nepal are Feed the Future focus countries.
We asked McVey a few questions about his visit and the exciting collaborations and progress he observed.
First, tell us a little about your trip. Where did you go and why were you there?
I accompanied a team of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Innovation Lab personnel from Virginia Tech, Penn State, and the Ohio State University to South Asia to review the activities of the IPM Innovation Lab in this part of the world. I attended workshops, regional planning meetings, toured facilities of private sector and NGO partners), and met with U.S. Ambassadors, USAID Mission directors, partner scientists, farmers, and members of farming cooperatives in India, Bangladesh, and Nepal.
The purpose of my trip was to see how Feed the Future’s goals are being accomplished, particularly through the work of the IPM Innovation Lab with its many partners and programs in South Asia. What I learned was encouraging.
Who did you spend time with during the trip? How did you see various food security actors, particularly from the research community, interacting and working together to achieve Feed the Future goals on the ground?
In Bangladesh, scientists from all three countries I visited, as well as representatives from USAID and The World Vegetable Center, attended a regional planning meeting for the IPM Innovation Lab’s Southeast Asia project. Interaction among scientists from the United States and host countries was lively and facilitated collaboration.
While visiting with the vice chancellor of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University in India and our partnering scientists at that institution, I observed their strong commitment to working with us to foster increased use of organic farming methods.
In India, scientists from Senegal, Kenya, Ghana, and Guatemala—supported by Feed the Future through the IPM Innovation Lab—attended a biocontrol workshop centered on the use of Trichoderma (a beneficial fungus used to attack fungi with deleterious effects) and Pseudomonas (a beneficial bacterium). Each of the scientists gave a presentation on the work they were doing in their home country. Through this kind of support, Feed the Future is exponentially expanding its impact and providing opportunities for scientists to learn new techniques. Those scientists then return home and share what they’ve learned, which translates to better in-country capacity.
The IPM Innovation Lab has also partnered with the Biocontrol Research Lab, a private company in India that produces biocontrol products to help farmers safely grow highly productive crops.
Through this partnership, farmers can learn about the benefits of using biocontrol methods to control pests and plant diseases and with the increased income they generate through these methods they are able to expand their use of such products. Companies find a viable niche in the economy. Everybody wins: Farmers increase their incomes without depleting or harming the soil and environment, companies are successful, and local communities have more and healthier produce to buy and consume. Public-private partnerships like this are helping to ensure that food security efforts in India are sustainable.
In each country I visited, the USAID Missions were pleased with the work of the IPM Innovation Lab and expressed that IPM Innovation Lab efforts are helping to achieve impact in advancing food security. In Bangladesh and Nepal, they are working to implement IPM packages (a set of techniques designed for a particular crop) in Feed the Future target regions.
What impact did you see the IPM Innovation Lab having? How was it making a difference?
In Nepal, pheromone trap technology introduced by the IPM Innovation Lab is helping coffee producers manage the white stem borer of coffee, a serious pest in the region. Classical biocontrol of the papaya mealybug, thanks to an IPM Innovation Lab initiative, has restored production of papaya, mulberry, cassava, eggplant, and other crops to the pre-incidence level in southern India. And in Bangladesh, the IPM Innovation Lab helped successfully reverse the decline in eggplant production, a staple crop, by introducing eggplant grafting in 2004 to combat bacterial wilt. The farmers were very appreciative of this initiative.
The adoption of Trichoderma and Pseudomonas in vegetable farming in India is extensive. In Bangladesh, Trichoderma is produced with compost and distributed to farmers. The adoption of culture to attract and kill the melon fly on bitter gourd farms in Bangladesh is also very popular. The popularization of Trichoderma throughout the tropical world is spectacular and should be continued as it makes such a difference in the lives of smallholder farmers.
From your tweets, it looks like you spent some time with smallholder farmers. How was the IPM Innovation Lab working with them, particularly women farmers? What did the farmers have to say?
There are many success stories coming out of these countries regarding integrated pest management (IPM) thanks to the involvement of the IPM Innovation Lab. The farmers themselves are perhaps the most inspiring.
One of the biggest stories for me was my colleague’s account of a visit to a village near Kathmandu, Nepal. In this small village, women have been so successful at using IPM techniques that they are able to buy clothes for their children, pay for more schooling for them, and even build houses with the extra income they generate.
At another farmers’ cooperative, I learned that while it only has 27 members, 500 people benefit from the work of the organization. A woman sits at the head of this group. The members of this organization are able to make small loans to other members, allowing them to buy materials for building greenhouses, drip irrigation systems, sticky traps, or pheromones. All of this is allowing women farmers to sustainably grow more and healthier produce.
At a coffee plantation in Nepal I heard this story repeated: “Ninety percent of the beans that we grow are of better quality since we started using IPM techniques,” one woman said. And I learned from our collaborating partner in Nepal, iDE, that it focuses on working with women because they’re more reliable and committed than the men, and they are also better savers.
What encouraged you most about this trip, the projects you saw, and the people you met?
I was most inspired by the difference that Feed the Future, through the IPM Innovation Lab, is making in the lives of women farmers. I saw this with the women agricultural students and farmers who I met at the Sri Avinashilingam Krishi Vigyan Kendra University in India and with the women farmers who I met in Nepal.
Women farmers see firsthand how using biocontrol methods produces vegetables and crops that are safer and of better quality. They are using the extra income to improve the lives of their families. And they are forming organizations to extend the benefits to each other through loans. They’re also extending benefits beyond their organizations by working with other women’s cooperatives.
During my visit to the women’s agricultural university, I spoke to a large group of several hundred women farmers. It was encouraging to see these young women take a positive step for their own future and that of their communities by investing in themselves and in the future of agriculture through higher education. The university is set up such that it not only trains women in agriculture, but it also encourages small businesses by training students in activities such as fabric production and handcrafts.
What key messages will you take back to the BIFAD on the value/success of the IPM Innovation Lab?
Overall, the progress toward Feed the Future’s goals was encouraging.
South-South collaboration is strong and yielding results. The biocontrol workshop at Tamil Nadu Agricultural University was an example of this. By providing training to promising young scientists in other developing countries, the program is extending the benefits of IPM methods.
The research and practitioner community is flexible, responding to new challenges as they arise. Policy-makers sometimes lag behind. As scientists learn of new invasive pests and diseases, they are quick to adapt, figuring out new solutions to challenges on the ground. Government officials often lag behind in understanding the importance of acting quickly and red tape can slow effective techniques.
Women are making strides. Where women are allowed or encouraged to have agency in their lives, they are making a huge difference.
While adopting new strategies is risky for subsistence farmers, once they see results they become evangelists. To the subsistence farmer, new practices are suspect: If you are just barely getting by, why try something that may remove even that tiny profit altogether? And yet, from my visits to farming villages and through meeting with farmer collectives and speaking with farmers themselves, I learned that once a farmer sees (often through demonstration plots) that these new methods can work, they become enthusiastic advocates.
Public-private partnerships are promising. Public-private partnerships across the countries we serve through the IPM Innovation Lab were inspiring, with strong partners in every country that are helping create self-sustaining programs.
Change is incremental, but nonetheless effective. While we don’t always get a dramatic splash for our investments dollars in the developing world, it is money well spent. The smile on the face of a woman who has built a house using money she earned from IPM methods is invaluable. The pride of the young women embarking on higher level agricultural studies was inspiring. The enthusiasm of our scientist partners from developing countries attending the biocontrol workshop was gratifying as well. Often, as I mentioned above, it can be difficult to persuade a farmer to adopt new methods. But once we do, and are successful, word of mouth spreads to other farmers and villages and extends across a region. Over time, this has a huge impact.
Follow McVey on Twitter for more on his trip and future updates. McVey will brief the public on his trip at the BIFAD board of directors meeting this Friday, March 15. Check out the webcast on Friday. We’ll also post the meeting minutes later on the USAID website.
Entomological Society of America Annual Meeting Symposium -
Jointly Organized by IPM CRSP and IAPPS
Venue: Knoxville, Tennessee
Dates: November 11 – 14, 2012
The IPM CRSP and International Association for Plant Protection Sciences (IAPPS) will be organizing a symposium entitled “IPM for Horticultural Crops in the Tropical World” in the Plant-Insect Ecosystems (P-IE) Section of the Entomological Society of America 60th Annual Meeting to be held in Knoxville, Tennessee during November 11th to 14th, 2012.
In this symposium, scientists from developing countries from Asia, Africa, and Latin and Central America and the U.S. will present the IPM components and packages developed for tropical vegetable and fruit crops in their respective countries.
Currently the IPM CRSP is operating in 17 countries in six different tropical regions of the world encompassing about one third of the world population. It has developed several economical, ecologically friendly and effective alternate technologies that reduce the use of pesticides in the horticultural crop production. Through this symposium organizers are planning to disseminate IPM packages and their components to the participants of the Entomological Society of America annual meeting.as
R. Muniappan, Program Director, IPM CRSP, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
Short Heinrichs, Secretary General, IAPPS, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE
Douglas Pfeiffer, Professor of Entomology, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
8.00 – 8.20 An overview of IPM CRSP – R. Muniappan
8.20 – 8.40 Use of Trichoderma spp., Pseudomonas fluorescens, and Bacillus spp. in seed and soil treatment – Barry Jacobsen
8.40 – 9.00 Grafting vegetable seedlings for soil borne disease resistance – Sally Miller
9.00 – 9.20 Roguing for control of Peanut bud necrosis virus disease in tomato – Naidu Rayapati
9.20 – 9.40 Host free period for Tomato yellow leaf curl virus control – Robert Gilbertson
9.40 – 10.00 Impact assessment of IPM technology implementation – Jeff Alwang
10.00 – 10.20 Coffee break
10.20 – 10.40 IPM packages for vegetable crops in India – S. Mohankumar
10.40 – 11.00 IPM packages for vegetable crops in Indonesia – Aunu Rauf
11.00 – 11.20 IPM packages for vegetable crops in Bangladesh – Yousuf Mian
11.20 – 11.40 IPM packages for vegetable crops in West Africa – Doug Pfeiffer
11.40 – 12.00 General discussion
ICTs could fill agricultural extension gap, says meeting
21 December 2011 | EN
[NAIROBI] A severe lack of extension workers in Sub-Saharan Africa could be partially filled by new information and communication technology (ICT) tools, a conference on extension innovations was told.
Africa has one extension worker per 4,000 farmers, compared with one per 200 hundred farmers in developed countries, the conference, Innovations in Extension and Advisory Services: Linking Knowledge to Policy and Action for Food and Livelihoods, heard last month (15-18 November).
But this gap could now be narrowed through the use of ICT tools including mobile phones, the internet and iPods, combined with more traditional media, such as radio.
Michael Hailu, director of the Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation, in the Netherlands, said that, even where there is no shortage of extension personnel and funds, smart use of ICTs can help deliver knowledge in real time to farmers, especially in poorly staffed and remote corners of Africa.
“The continent must try to be as innovative as possible and exploit the growing mobile communications sector to deliver knowledge,” he said. “ICTs such as mobile phones are helping farmers to increase production, discover new markets for their produce and gain access to new knowledge and technologies.”
The conference declaration called for a greater use of ICTs and the media in the provision of advisory and extension services, which should also take into account culture and gender issues.
But Hailu cautioned that it would be a big risk for governments to continue neglecting recruitment of extension services workers, because ICTs could not fill all the needed services.
Hannington Odame, director of the Centre for African Bio-Entrepreneurship, in Kenya, also pointed out that ICT usage has its limits and that training farmers and agro-stockists would help meet needs.
“ICTs can only provide information on straightforward things or offer static information, but where follow-ups are required and the needs of farmers are varied, you cannot help but use personnel,” Odame said. “This may come in the form of well-trained farmers or even stockists who sell chemicals and inputs to farmers.”
He said diverse sources of information were needed to enable farmers to attain maximum productivity and profitability, a consideration that may call for setting up a farmer information system.
Mary Kamau, director of extension and training in Kenya’s agriculture ministry, said the country had established the National Agriculture Information System under the National Agriculture and Livestock Extension Program, where farmers can access information from their mobile phones through toll-free numbers.
Investment in agriculture extension services needs to increase to 3.5 per cent of the agriculture gross domestic product (GDP), according to Magdalena Blum, of the Food and Agricultural Organization’s Office of Knowledge Exchange, Research and Extension.
She added that no African government is spending even a tenth of the recommended 3.5 per cent, even though agriculture continues to contribute more than 30 per cent of the continent’s GDP.
The Norman Borlaug Commemorative Research Initiative:
Leveraging U.S. Research to Reduce Hunger and Poverty
Investing in agricultural research today contributes to the growth and resilience of the food supply tomorrow. When combined with other agricultural investments, improved technologies and practices can meet the need to feed an ever growing global population with less land, less water and a less certain climate. The U.S. has a unique role as a leader in agricultural science and technology, spanning early support for the Green Revolution up through the application of modern biotechnology.
Under Feed the Future, research investments will focus on priorities that:
- Advance the Productivity Frontier: A focus on breeding and genetics of staple crops and livestock to address major production constraints of pests, diseases, drought, and other risks to small scale producers as well as reach into the future to enhance yield potential.
- Transform Production Systems: In priority geographic areas where the poor are concentrated, integrate global technology advances with applied research on conservation of soil and water resources, extension and market access opportunities. This means taking a systems research approach to “sustainable intensification” of key African and Asia production systems on which the poor and hungry depend, linking research advances to national partners and programs.
- Enhance Nutrition and Food Safety: A focus on increasing productivity of grain legumes, reducing mycotoxin contamination of staples, biofortification of staple crops and increasing availability of animal source foods to improve dietary diversity and health, particularly in women and children.
As part of Feed the Future‘s strategy to help achieve these three objectives, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will partner to create the Norman Borlaug Commemorative Research Initiative. The Borlaug Initiative will leverage one of the world’s largest public research systems, spanning the USDA’s research agencies, increasing its relevance and impact on problems and opportunities faced by smallholder farm families in Africa, Asia and Latin America. This expanded relationship will add to USAID’s partnerships with U.S. universities, the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, the private sector, and research organizations in developing countries.
The Borlaug Initiative envisions building on research supporting U.S. agriculture in a variety of ways. USAID will provide targeted support to USDA’s in-house research to enhance its benefits for achieving food security objectives in developing countries. USDA will realign some of its research investments in support of the strategy. Through its work with USDA’s research agencies, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the Agricultural Research Service and the Economic Research Service, USAID will expand and deepen collaboration between USDA and U.S. university scientists with counterparts in developing countries. By building on both USDA’s in-house and competitive research programs, USAID and USDA will multiply our investments and bring the best of U.S. science and technology to bear on reducing hunger and poverty in support of the Feed the Future Initiative.
Stem-Rust Resistant Wheats in the Horn of Africa and South Asia: USAID and USDA have joined forces with international partners to address this emerging threat. With potential global losses of up to $9 billion/year from wheat stem rust, and susceptibility of 80% of wheat varieties currently grown, varieties of wheat that are resistant to stem rust are critical to food security across Ethiopia and parts of the Middle East and South Asia. New resistant varieties have been developed in collaboration with the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research Centers, and will soon be delivered throughout the region. Continued research is critical to ensure adaptation to additional countries at risk of an epidemic. U.S. farmers will also benefit from resistance identified by the research.
Eds. note: A workshop “IPM for Feed the Future” has been organized for Saturday, August 6, 5:30 -8:30 PM at the XVII IPPC/APS meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii. The objective of the workshop is to discuss the role of IPM in the U.S. government’s Feed the Future Intitiative. Speakers include a cast of world experts in the area of plant protection in international agricultural development. If you are coming to the Congress plan to arrive in Honolulu by early Saturday afternoon at the latest so that you can participate in this workshop which has significant relevance to the role of IPM in food security and mitigating global hunger.