Plantwise Knowledge Bank launched
What is the pest or disease damaging this farmer’s crop?
What treatments can I recommend that are effective, cheap, and environmentally friendly?
How can I get access to validated, science-based advice on plant pests and diseases?
How can farmers guard against pests and diseases?
The answers to these questions and more are now available at the touch of a button from a new, free resource launched worldwide on 25 July 2012 – www.plantwise.org/knowledgebank.
Available to anyone able to access the internet, but particularly aimed at extension workers, government organizations, researchers, and farmers in developing countries, the Plantwise Knowledge Bank provides clear, up-to-date information that can be put immediately into action to diagnose, treat, and prevent plant pests and diseases. This will contribute to reducing crop losses (currently up to 40% pre- and post-harvest) that blight countries and threaten local, national and global food security.
The Knowledge Bank is packed with features which ensure the information it provides is useful, relevant and applicable. The diagnostic tool enables users to diagnose plant problems based on pictures of symptoms; country specific homepages mean the information shown is tailored to the user’s location; and a range of factsheets provide information about easily applicable treatments.
New ways of delivering the Knowledge Bank’s information are constantly being explored, with printed Knowledge Bank factsheets already being distributed in areas where specific plant pest or diseases are particularly prevalent and internet access is unavailable.
The Knowledge Bank is already being used to support Plantwise Plant Clinics – where ‘plant doctors’, trained by CABI, the science and development organization leading the Plantwise programme, provide diagnosis and treatment support to farmers from their local area. Plantwise helped first launch plant clinics in Kenya in 2010. After just six months, over 20 clinics in ten districts were operating weekly, receiving approximately 5,000 queries from farmers in more than 240 villages. Recently the Minister of Agriculture announced plans to increase the number of plant clinics in Kenya to 500.
Roger Day, CABI’s Regional Coordinator for Plantwise in Africa, sees the Knowledge Bank as an important tool in tackling global food insecurity – “the right information really can change people’s lives. The Knowledge Bank provides this information, helping people lose less of their crops to pests and diseases, and enabling them better to support themselves, their families and their communities. With the support of the Knowledge Bank, Plantwise can benefit food security, support farmers and ultimately, improve lives”.