29 November 2013 – On Thursday 5 December, CABI representatives will join the annual National Engineering Foundation (NEF) Innovisions Conference to see whether its landmark global food security programme, Plantwise, will take home a 2013 Innovation Award.

These awards were established to recognise and celebrate ‘game-changers’ proven to be the very best of innovation in public policy. They have been judged by a panel of industry experts, influencers and leaders as well as past award recipients.

Currently, up to 40% of crops worldwide are lost to pests, threatening local, national and global food security. Since its launch in 2010, Plantwise has provided an innovative approach to national agricultural development, working with over 31 countries to better manage plant health and support farmers in the fight against pests. 

Plantwise works with national governments to set up plant clinics, like those for human health, where trained plant doctors provide farmers with practical, science-based diagnosis and advice to prevent and manage crop loss. Supporting this network of clinics, the Plantwise knowledge bank ensures an online and off-line gateway to diagnostic services, pest tracking, and best-practice farmer recommendations specific to every country.

This unique programme, supported in large part by public donors, presents a model for building sustainable, resilient national plant health systems in countries where agricultural development is crucial to millions of livelihoods.

Professor Sa’ad Medhat, CEO of the NEF, said, “Nominees were judged for their clarity of intended purpose, uniqueness of approach, potential impact, and whether they stimulated and galvanised others. The winners will contribute to a culture of generation innovation, which will help promote sustainable growth in the UK.”

CABI is delighted to be shortlisted for the ‘best example of government policy supporting innovation.’ It is a recognition of the importance of policies and programmes from DFID and the UK government which foster innovative approaches like Plantwise, and its impacts for smallholder farmers worldwide.