CABI has today launched PestSmart Diagnostics in Europe and North America, the first in a series of new and unique e-learning courses based on training developed for the award-winning Plantwise agricultural programme aimed at farmers in developing countries.

PestSmart promises to benefit the way businesses in the food supply chain manage plant health problems to grow more and better produce.

The course is unique in two ways: it is the first plant health e-learning product of its kind on the market, and is a rare example of a proven innovation from the aid sector being developed into a commercial product. CABI is a not-for-profit organisation, so the profits made from PestSmart will be reinvested into the Plantwise programme – making it more sustainable and ultimately helping farmers both in developed and developing countries.

PestSmart app cut tomato image

PestSmart simulator app

PestSmart is a practical e-learning course focusing on the skills and methodologies required for field-based diagnosis of pests and diseases. The course offers agricultural professionals the hands-on skills needed for field-based diagnosis of plant pests, focusing on a methodology for diagnosis. The knowledge learnt in the course gives farmers and agronomists the skills needed to identify new and emerging threats to their crops, reducing risks to the food supply chain and improving productivity.

Plantwise is a CABI-led aid programme that helps farmers in Africa, Asia and Latin America lose less of what they grow to plant health problems by establishing and supporting plant clinics, where farmers receive practical agricultural advice. The training provided through the programme has tangible improvements on agricultural productivity, with independent studies showing 13% crop yield increases in Kenya, as well as reductions in pesticide usage.

In Sri Lanka, Plantwise expertise helped stop the banana skipper pest which could have caused losses of up to USD 20 million to the country’s banana industry. Better management practices and reduced pesticide usage has also given market access to farmers in Ghana and Vietnam who were previously suffering from export bans to the EU and United States. Plantwise has connected sesame farmers in Nicaragua to The Body Shop, with their oil now used in its body butter.

PestSmart builds on the successes of this aid programme, enabling plant health professionals in Europe and North America to go out into the field and diagnose and manage major plant pests for the commercial sector.

PestSmart Field Guide front cover

PestSmart Diagnostics Field Guide

CABI’s Chief Commercial Officer, Carol McNamara, says: ‘We’re delighted to launch PestSmart. So often we hear about commercial innovation trickling down into developing countries. Here, we’ve taken a highly successful international development programme and adapted it for the commercial sector. This ‘reverse innovation’ approach shows how agricultural knowledge in developing countries can be applied and distributed to developed markets.’

PestSmart’s eLearning element is designed to be completed on a desktop PC but is viewable on Android and Apple mobile devices. There are three elements to the PestSmart package: an eLearning course, a field guide and a simulator app with 3D renders of diseased crops.

Notes to editors

For more information about PestSmart see:

Media enquiries

Rachel Winks, PR & Social Media Manager, CABI, email: Tel: +44 (0) 1491 829371

About CABI

CABI is an international not-for-profit organization that improves people’s lives by providing information and applying scientific expertise to solve problems in agriculture and the environment.

Through knowledge sharing and science, CABI helps address issues of global concern such as improving global food security and safeguarding the environment. We do this by helping farmers grow more and lose less of what they produce, combating threats to agriculture and the environment from pests and diseases, protecting biodiversity from invasive species, and improving access to agricultural and environmental scientific knowledge. Our 49 member countries guide and influence our core areas of work, which include development and research projects, scientific publishing and microbial services.

CABI produces key scientific publications, including CAB Abstracts and Global Health. We also publish multimedia compendia, books, eBooks and full text electronic resources aiming to further science and its application to real life. CABI invests its publishing surpluses directly into development projects, helping to improve livelihoods worldwide.

We gratefully acknowledge the core financial support from our member countries (and lead agencies) including the United Kingdom (Department for International Development), China (Chinese Ministry of Agriculture), Australia (Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research), Canada (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada), Netherlands (Directorate-General for International Cooperation, and Switzerland (Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation). Other sources of funding include the fees paid by our member countries and profits from our publishing activities which enable CABI to support rural development and scientific research around the world.

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