CABI has launched two new interactive training courses on crop pest diagnosis and management as part of the CABI Academy.

Around 40% of crops worldwide are lost to pests – putting the livelihoods of millions of smallholder farmers and global food security at risk – but CABI is helping to mitigate these challenges through its expertise in plant health and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) using, where possible, more sustainable biological controls.

Based upon CABI’s Plantwise programme, which since 2011 has supported over 30 million smallholder farmers with the knowledge they need to grow more and lose less, two courses – Crop Pest Diagnosis and Crop Pest Management – will provide a comprehensive way to diagnose and control pests and diseases.

The courses, which are designed to support extension workers and plant doctors directly, as well as teachers and trainers in agricultural education institutions and the workplace, can be accessed online or using a mobile app. Materials can also be downloaded for offline use. Successful completion of each course brings a CABI Academy certificate.

CABI Academy

The two courses are being provided with the intention of supporting extension workers and plant doctors, as well as teachers and trainers in agricultural education institutions and the workplace under the umbrella of the CABI Academy.

The Crop Pest Diagnosis course features 15 hours of training across five modules, over 400 knowledge checks and 1,000 images for symptom recognition. The course supports field-based diagnosis using the Diagnostic Field Guide and covers pathogens, pests and nutrient deficiencies.

Meanwhile, the Crop Pest Management course helps users to apply the principles of an IPM approach to pest and disease management to real world scenarios. It supports them to make good, informed decisions without the use of the most hazardous chemicals. It includes key areas such as economic considerations, bacteria, oomycetes, fungi, insects and mites as well as viruses.

Both courses are also reinforced by the Crop Pest Diagnostic Simulator App which gives the student the chance to test their learning on plant diagnosis. They can zoom in on symptoms, turn the plant around and even ‘cut’ it open and look inside the plant.

Mark Berthelemy, CABI’s Digital Learning Manager, said, “The new Crop Pest Diagnosis and Crop Pest Management courses are based upon CABI’s extensive practical field experience, case studies, expert tips, photos, practical tools and reference materials while our scenario-based training helps users to see the effects of any action taken.

“We believe that digital media can complement other traditional forms of training to deliver high quality, more accessible, self-paced and adaptive learning that will help learners acquire and implement skills to make them more productive and ultimately help farmers grow more and lose less to crop pests and diseases.”

It is envisaged that, over time, the CABI Academy will develop into a comprehensive collection of world class training – in collaboration with world-leading universities, research organizations and businesses – that promotes climate smart approaches to crop production and help increase the supply of safer, more nutritious food.

Tamara Coleman, Agricultural Extension Officer at RADA in Jamaica, who has already benefited from the courses, said, “The course has opened my eyes to a lot of different insects, fungi and bacteria that I wouldn’t have been able to identify out in the field.”

Additional information

See also the article on the CABI Blog: ‘Why we chose Moodle for the CABI Academy.’

For more information about the Crop Pest Diagnosis and Crop Pest Management courses visit