Reblogged from Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences news During 3-day training workshop, participants learnt how to validate Plantwise diagnoses and recommendations and how to analyze data from Vietnam stored on the Plantwise Knowledge bank. This activity is useful and necessary for the staff working in plant protection because they can examine and evaluate skills and […]
Archive for the ‘Technology transfer’ Category
Originally posted on The FARA Social Reporters Blog: Damien Nsabiyumve explaining the role of “plant doctors” in the “Plantwise” programme The 7th Africa Agriculture Science Week (AASW7) organized by the Forum for Agriculture Research in Africa (FARA) is took place in Kigali-Rwanda from June 13-16. During this event many companies and organisations attended, and brought…
By Dyna Eam. Reblogged from the CGIAR CCAFS blog. Farmer representatives and project team members of Rohal Suong Climate-Smart Village in Cambodia learn about rice pest management in light of climate change. Many people attribute floods, droughts and cyclones to climate change and these natural disasters impact greatly on agricultural productivity. But recent scientific evidences […]
Fabulous fungus finds a following
USAID’s Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Integrated Pest Management organizes a three-day Trichoderma workshop at AVRDC Eastern and Southern Africa
Trichoderma, the “fighting fungus,” helps humans in many, many ways. It is used to give jeans a stone-washed look, increases biodigestibility of barley before it is given to chickens and, most importantly, is good at eating bad fungi, which makes it a great biological control tool for farmers worldwide. Whether fusarium wilt on tomatoes, clubroot on broccoli, or pink rot in onion, Trichoderma kills them all.
In Asia, a large cottage industry produces the fungus and makes its products available to smallholders. Trichoderma holds great potential for East Africa, but few entrepreneurs are producing or distributing the fungus, and scientists are not fully aware of Trichoderma’s capabilities. Therefore, on 20-23 July 2015, a three-day course was organized at AVRDC Eastern and Southern Africa to introduce scientists to this fantastic fungus. Professors Sevugapperumal Nakkeeran and Karthikeyan Gandhi, experts in the field, flew in from Tamil Nadu Agricultural University in India to teach the course.
The course was opened by Muni Muniappan from Virginia Tech University, the Director of the IPM Innovation Lab, and AVRDC Regional Director Thomas Dubois. The IPM Innovation Lab, a new $18 million program, is working hard to raise the standard of living for people in Eastern Africa and South Asia by designing and spreading environmentally sound agricultural practices to address emerging pest and disease problems that plague farmers in developing countries. “Trichoderma has been a godsend in treating fungal diseases in Asia, and local businesses can make good money growing the fungus,” Muni said. “Together with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), RealIPM and Alpha Seeds, AVRDC has been researching the use of Trichoderma as an inoculant for tomato seedlings with great results, so we know what this fungus is capable of doing.”
The course was attended by 22 high-level scientists in the fields of plant pathology, entomology and IPM from Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania. Participants visited the field to collect maize and vegetable roots, and isolate their own fungi from these samples. Practical sessions comprised media preparation, screening Trichoderma for its efficacy against soil-borne pathogens, identification of Trichoderma species, ways to count spore densities, and mass production using cheap substrates. Participants also collected and studied other beneficial soil microbes, such as Rhizobacteria and Pseudomonas. During lectures, the instructors talked about shelf life, formulations and delivery mechanisms, registration and regulatory issues for Trichoderma and other biopesticides, and current low cost mass production technologies.
Getting the numerous fungal isolates, proper culture media, and laboratory teaching materials organized for the in-depth practical sessions required a lot of preparation and planning. George Mahuku, Juma Yabeya and Harun Muriti from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, were instrumental in ensuring participants had all the necessary tools at hand to properly study the fungus. Zara Shortt, Financial Coordinator of the IPM Innovation Lab, as well as Jason Smith, AVRDC Entomologist, also helped greatly in preparing the course and ensured all participants returned happily.
One week after the USAID Innovation Lab training on Trichoderma, another workshop about the fungus was hosted for private sector representatives and scientists at AVRDC in Arusha. Twenty growers representing Tanzania’s vegetable, tree fruit and flower industries learned a new set of practices for IPM from RealIPM co-founder Louise Labuschagne, who explained how to tackle a host of hard-to-beat pests and diseases including whiteflies, fruit flies, thrips, and common foliar and soil-borne diseases. RealIPM offers a range of beneficial fungi, bacteria and mites that, when integrated into IPM strategies, can break cycles of pest resistance to conventional pesticides while reducing farmer reliance upon more toxic alternatives. Biopesticides offer the additional benefit of allowing beneficial insects to thrive in farm fields where they would otherwise be suppressed by conventional pesticide sprays. RealIPM is headquartered in Kenya and has been at the forefront of biological control on the African continent. With such strong interest from the public and private sectors, biological controls are set to boom in the region.
Posted in Food Security, IPM, Technology transfer, tagged Feed the Future IPM Innovation Lab, hunger, IPM and food security, IPM CRSP, Peace Corps, rural poverty, Sisseton Wahpeton Sioux on January 26, 2015 | Leave a Comment »
Published in: Bloomberg Businessweek, Dec. 1-Dec. 7, 2014, p.36.
A nonprofit with Microsoft roots helps farmers share lessons
Technology is transforming the way women farm. In rural India, impoverished women do most of the labor using methods passed down for millenia. About 100,000 (mostly male) government and private agricultural experts roam the country to teach farmers modern techniques. But fewer than 6% of farmers have ever seen one according to the World Bank, and women are often excluded from those training sessions because they lack legal rights to their husbands’ land.
Digital Green, a nonprofit founded by Microsoft researchers, is trying to change that. The group distributes pocket cameras and tripods to local women and trains them to storyboard, act in, shoot, edit and screen videos demonstrating farming innovation. Because the villages where the women work often lack electricity, it’s all done via battery-powered projectors. Women who show the videos keep track of attendee questions and monitor adoption of practices to help the video directors improve later versions.Using the audience’s peers as actors is particularly important, says Rikin Gandhi, Digital Green’s co-founder and chief executive officer. “Viewers identify with those women featured in the videos based on dialect and appearance, etc., to determine whether it is someone they can trust,” according to Gandhi. Villagers tune out if they see items that aren’t common in their communities. Community members are much more effective in training than roving experts according to a World Bank study published earlier this year.
Digital Green has helped make almost 4,000 videos in 28 languages to help about 464,000 people in India become better farmers. Digital Green’s method cost Pradan, an Indian antipoverty nonprofit, $288 a year per village and led to 49% local adoption of farming innovations, compared to $605 and 16% adoption under the old method. Digital Green is expanding to other countries including Ethiopia, Ghana, Niger and Afghanistan.
Kavita Devi from the village of Gosaibagha in northeastern India has spent 50 years farming the way her elders taught her. But since July she has been joining about 30 women neighbors in saris who file up to a makeshift movie theater in a buffalo shed, where they watch videos from a battery powered handheld projector shown on a fuzzy blanket hung on a wall. In the video, which runs 8-10 minutes, women from nearby villages demonstrate ways to boost rice yield by spacing seedlings farther apart and using compost instead of fertilizer. Devi says, ” they look very successful. I would like to be one of them.”
In India, the government’s goal is to more than double the incomes of farming women, who typically earn less than $2 a day. Devi says next year she will start planting cash crops such as spinach alongside potatoes and wheat for her family. “I want to educate my children,” she says, “I’ll be in a video someday.”