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PlantwisePlus

Farmers’ crops are increasingly at the mercy of climate change, pests and diseases. PlantwisePlus will work to help countries predict, prepare for and prevent potential threats and reduce crop losses. We will provide comprehensive support to countries and farmers so they meet the increasing global demand for quality food in a changing climate.

Plantwise

Worldwide, over 500 million smallholder farmers provide food for two-thirds of the earth’s growing population. Achieving a zero hunger world by 2030 depends on increasing the productivity of these smallholder farmers – but their crops face a significant threat. Yearly, an estimated 40% of crops grown worldwide are lost to pests. If we could reduce crop losses by just 1%, we could potentially feed millions more people. The lack of access to timely, appropriate and actionable extension advice makes it a fundamental challenge for farmers to get the right information at the right time to reduce crop losses.

Assessing a biocontrol agent for Jatropha gossypiifolia

Jatropha gossypiifolia (bellyache bush) is a major invasive plant in northern Australia. Previous biocontrol efforts have focused on insects but the Australian Government is now also keen to explore fungal pathogens. As experts, CABI is carrying out safety and efficacy experiments with the rust pathogen Phakopsora arthuriana using a strain originating from Trinidad. Results will help the Australian authorities decide whether this rust is suitable for biocontrol of J. gossypiifolia in Australia.

Researching introduced forest species in Trinidad

Many introduced species can have an adverse effect on native biodiversity, especially on a delicate island habitat such as Trinidad and Tobago. Three forest species are being particularly troubling, namely, Tectona grandis (teak), Acacia mangium (brown salwood) and Leucaena leucocephala (white leadtree). So, with funding from the FAO, CABI researched the species to find out how they behave and where they have invaded with a view to controlling them sustainably.

Controlling floating pennywort in a safe and sustainable way

Floating pennywort is an invasive aquatic plant that can over-run water bodies in the UK, and is threatening habitats, native plants, fish and insects. Also a problem across much of Europe, this plant has rapid growth and can regenerate from small fragments. Management is mainly limited to mechanical clearance which is expensive and often ineffective. Through comprehensive host range testing, this project aims to identify the safest and most effective biocontrol agent to keep the plant in check.

Naitram Ramnanan