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Helping plant protection officers make a difference to agricultural extension


CABI Academy Crop Pest Diagnosis training is helping to change the way that plant health experts diagnose crop pests and diseases, allowing them to grow in confidence and deliver even better recommendations to farmers. Participants have come from 89 countries and 98% of them would recommend the course to a colleague.

The story

Using expertise in plant health and diseases, in 2019, CABI launched the first in its range of CABI Academy online courses, Crop Pest Diagnosis. Based on CABI’s flagship programme, Plantwise, the course takes a holistic and international approach to pest diagnostics. 

The self-study course is designed to give students and agronomists the skills they need to identify new and emerging threats to crops, reducing risks to the food supply chain and improving productivity. Micoy Campbell, who works as an agricultural extension officer with the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) in Jamaica, says: 

“Since completing the Crop Pest Diagnosis course, I have seen changes in my extension delivery in a positive way. I am now better able to identify different types of pests and diseases that might affect crops within my area. As a result of this, I am confident in making recommendations to the farmer and also effectively managing these pests and diseases using an integrated pest management approach.” 

The training includes the main pathogen groups as well as insect pests and nutrient deficiencies and lets learners go out directly into the field and apply their learning. 

Tamara Coleman, also an agricultural extension officer with RADA, says, “I found the Crop Pest Diagnosis course to be very educational and informative. [It] opened my eyes to a lot of the different insects, fungi and bacteria that I wouldn’t be able to identify out in the field. It is a course that I would recommend to all plant doctors to help us assist farmers in improving their crops. I think [it] will aid me throughout the rest of my career.” 

During the COVID-19 outbreak, we have opened up the Diagnosis course to a global audience, enrolling over 3,000 participants, of whom 1,200 have successfully completed and received a certificate. 

Participants have come from 89 countries, including significant contingents from Bangladesh, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan and Rwanda. 98% of participants would recommend the course to a colleague. 

For more information about Crop Pest Diagnosis, go to 

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