announcements from all on any aspect of Plant Pathology are invited for the Newsletter. Contributions from the ISPP Executive,
Council and Subject Matter Committees, Associated Societies and
Supporting Organisations are requested.
Progress in Africa in the Current Project of the ISPP Task Force
“Changing Public Perceptions and Opinions on Global Food Security” is the title
of the current Challenge Project under the
ISPP Task Force on Global Food Security. The project is being run by
Professor Lise Korsten of the University of Pretoria, South Africa. The
following is based on a report to ISPP about progress on the project through
2009-2010. The project aims to address the lack of knowledge and training needs
through general awareness campaigns.
Most African countries including South Africa lack adequate human capacity and
expertise in critical areas such as pest risk assessment, phytosanitary
requirements, food safety and plant biosecurity. Furthermore, there is a general
lack of public awareness and knowledge regarding plant health and food security.
South Africa and the rest of Africa are not training adequate numbers of plant
pathologists. South Africa plays a leading economic role in Africa and has
recently become more popular with African students for their postgraduate
studies in agriculture. This project targets the general public, scholars and
students. The main objective of this project was to establish plant health and
food security awareness and marketing material, and a mobile laboratory that can
be used during school visits, particularly in rural Africa.
set out to create marketing material and establish a mobile laboratory for
visits to schools and rural areas in Africa and to disseminate information
regarding plant health and food security. Flyers, booklets, brochures, banners
and a TV programme on food security have been made. Outreach activities included
visiting schools and setting up a bush lab for school kids as part of the
awareness campaigns. Further activities include visiting rural communities in
the Northern Provinces of South Africa and in Mozambique. A tour through several
other African countries to distribute information and create awareness is
intended. Linking this project with other similar programmes and establishing a
network and food security data base is on-going.
Amanda Redmond was appointed to co-ordinate and manage the project. She also
does the field trips and travelling in Africa. A double cab vehicle has been
leased through the University of Pretoria for 2008-2012. An additional Landrover-type
vehicle is required for the African leg of the project and possible sponsorship
is being negotiated. A trailer was designed by Amanda and custom built for the
purpose of travelling in rough areas. A caravan has also been obtained and
converted into a camper trailer/mobile lab.
For communication purposes, such as linking farmers with knowledge hubs in
various parts of the world, “Skype” was downloaded and installed. A data-base of
experts and service providers is being established. An information network has
been linked to Netscape at the University of Pretoria. A website, twitter chat
room and blog are being considered or are under construction. Ms W Keesenberg,
who has a master’s degree in Plant Pathology and an IT degree from the
University of Pretoria, will join the group from October and she will be
responsible for setting up the communication network. A building on the
experimental farm of the University of Pretoria has been identified as an ideal
training and research centre as well as information hub. A proposal to convert
this building into a Plant BioSecurity hub is being negotiated.
A popular environmental TV show “50/50” (www.5050.co.za.)
has been running in South Africa for many years. Early in 2010, it launched a
program that covers Food Security challenges. Extensive footage was taken at the
Plant Pathology Laboratories, University of Pretoria, and Professor Lise Korsten
was interviewed regarding food safety challenges in Africa.This is scheduled to be shown on 4 October in line with the UN World Food
A postharvest workshop involving several scientists from other African countries
and small scale farmers from Limpopo and the Northern Province was held in June
2009. The topic of food safety and security was included in the two-day
programme. Over 40 delegates attended the workshop. Information regarding food
security challenges in Africa was put on display.
Marketing material has been developed to target high school science and biology
teachers and students. Basic information has also been collected and compiled to
form a Food Security 4 Africa booklet. The booklet is targeting households and
farmers in rural areas with a low literacy rate. Lab work demonstration material
and several videos or flyers on plant diseases have been developed. Primary
schools in the Tshwane metropolitan municipality in the province of Gauteng were
used in 2009 as a platform to test concepts, marketing material and level of
uptake and understanding of what is hoped to achieve. The children attending
these schools come from extremely poor areas. The schools also have limited
funding and lack basic science equipment, computers and books. Ten science kits
and two boxes of reading books were handed over to the teachers. Several
scholars visited the Food Security 4 Africa camping site stand in 2010 as part
of the plant science initiative for schools in Gauteng.
Visiting school children from Gauteng province learning about plant health and
ISPP Plant Virus Epidemiology
Professor Alberto Fereres has sent information
about the highly successful International Plant Virus Epidemiology Symposium
held in June 2010 at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA. The symposium
was held together with The Plant Virus Ecology Network. A report and the program
and book of abstracts may be found on the web-site of the ISPP Plant Virus Epidemiology (IPVE) Committee, of
which Professor Fereres is Chair. The symposium had four 4 sessions: Virus
Epidemiology and Etiology; Virus Ecology and Evolution; Vector Biology and Virus
Transmission; and Virus Disease Management, Detection and Diagnosis. The
symposium was attended by 150 participants from five continents.
Global Plant Clinic
The Global Plant Clinic (GPC) was established through CABI in the UK to help the
world’s poorest farmers deal with pests, diseases, weeds and other plant health
problems. Plant clinics run regularly in local meeting places such as markets in
many countries. Samples from crops can be taken to the clinic, where inspection,
diagnosis and available treatments are offered. The program is self-sustaining
and managed and run locally.
GPC works at country level with plant science organizations, agricultural
ministries and extension systems to create a sustainable local plant healthcare
system to support the clinics. GPC helps link each clinic to a network of
national diagnostic laboratories which can support them. When the national
diagnostic laboratories cannot help, samples are sent to CABI in the UK, which
has an expert
which accepts diseased plant samples from all countries. Interested persons
should contact the Global Plant Clinic before sending samples and they will be
advised if their country is eligible for the free service funded by the UK
Department for International Development. The GPC team will advise on how to
collect a sample for diagnosis and the regulations for sending different types
of organisms to the UK. The address is Global Plant Clinic, CABI, Bakeham Lane,
Egham, Surrey TW20 9TY, UK. Telephone the switchboard at +44-1491-829080 for
extension 4069 or send a fax to +44-1491-829100, or send an e-mail.
Since 1997, GPC has helped to establish more than 80 plant health clinics in
nine countries throughout Latin America, Africa and Asia. There is an ambition
to expand the program to 40 countries and over 400 clinics by 2014. Donors and
partners are the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the UK
Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA) (formerly the Central Science
Sustainable Vegetable Production in South East Asia
This is the title of an ISHS-supported symposium to be held in Indonesia in
March 2011. See “Coming Events”.
The symposium aims to bring together knowledge on sustainable techniques of
vegetable production with emphasis on South East Asia. Vegetable production in
the region is economically very important and generates incomes for millions of
smallholder farmers and larger scale agricultural companies. The production is
often characterized by intensive farm (organic manures) and off-farm
Scientifically based schemes of fertilization and crop protection barely exist,
often leading farmers to over-apply these inputs. Consequences have been
reduction in general soil quality and excessive losses of nutrients to the
environment. Over-application of pesticides has had direct impacts on farmers
and on consumers’ health, and has lead to resistance problems and a general
decline in soil and water quality. There is an urgent need for more sustainable
strategies of intensive vegetable production.
The main thrusts of the symposium will be on nutrient supply, fertilization,
organic matter management and soil quality, but sustainable vegetable production
including crop protection, economic and social aspects will be brought in. The
symposium is intended for researchers, graduate and doctoral students,
agricultural agencies and extension officers, policy makers and environmental
agencies, with links to vegetable production. Oral and poster presentations on
these topics will be accompanied by dedicated sessions in working groups on at
least two important cross-cutting issues. One will be inventorization of
existing research projects on sustainable vegetable production in the region,
including ways of improving the match of these initiatives, possibly leading to
new project applications. A second is on education, training and extension in
Registration fees have been kept to a minimum in order to allow maximum
participation from all countries. Abstracts should be submitted through the
on-line abstract submission system, accessible through the symposium website.
Accepted full papers will be published in a dedicated issue of Acta
Horticulturae. For further information, see
the symposium web-site or contact: e-mail .
Impact of Plant and Canopy Architecture on Epidemiology first
announcement about conference in France
Conference on “Impact of Plant and Canopy Architecture
on Disease Epidemiology and Pest Development” will be held in Brittany, France,
in July 2012. The first
announcement shows the rationale behind,
and the purpose for, the conference as well as the tentative agenda, venue, key
dates and the Scientific Committee. A web-site will become available later. The
announcement was sent by Frédéric Revers,
Secretary of the French Society for Plant Pathology (SFP), which along with the
French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA): group EpiArch
(Epidemiology-Architecture) and the French National Research Agency (ANR):
programme ARCHIDEMIO are the organizers. For more information from the
Scientific Committee, contact Bernard Tivoli at e-mail.
leaf blight in Cameroon and a solution in the Pacific
Cameroon is a country of central and western Africa, and is bordered by Nigeria,
Chad, the Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and the Republic
of the Congo. Taro known also as colocacia and cocoyam is an important staple
food and source of income for many people in regions of Cameroon and in some of
these neighbouring nations. It is a perennial primarily grown as a root
vegetable for its edible starchy corm, and as a leaf vegetable. Taro (Colocasia esculenta) is native to southeast Asia.
A potentially devastating disease known as taro leaf blight caused by
Phytophthora colocasiae was first reported in Java about a century
ago, and then spread to various parts of Asia and the Pacific and now to Africa.
Its impact could force Cameroon to go without cocoyam and colocacia production
for several years, thus creating hunger and an economic disaster for local
farmers. It was doing this in the Pacific region before the project TaroGen
was started to develop a strategy for taro genetic resource conservation and
crop improvement. The project was designed to assist Pacific Island countries in
the collection and conservation of taro germplasm and in the use of the genetic
resources in plant improvement programs. It commenced in 1998. The major impetus
for the project was the loss of taro genetic resources in the region and the
spread of taro leaf blight to the Samoan islands in 1993 and its devastating
effect on the economy. The project has had success and Samoa has now started to
export taro back to New Zealand after many years.
Personnel in the Pacific region believe that Cameroon should find a donor to
support the use of the disease resistant varieties of taro developed in the
Pacific. The Chair of
agrees and has been trying to get authorities in Cameroon to become involved. He
sees the difficulty of achieving this to be typical of many aspects of
international development assistance. In this case, the science has been done,
the answers exist but there are major problems in delivering the technology to
farmers. He concludes from his efforts that a request for assistance with the
technology has to come from the Government of Cameroon, or from a regional
organization if neighbouring countries are also involved.
Facebook Group Pages for Plant Pathology Societies
Facebook is one of a few new methods to keep in contact with fellow researchers
in Plant Pathology. Currently only the American Phytopathological Society (APS)
and the Australasian Plant Pathology Society (APPS) have official Facebook group
pages. The APS page
was established in 2008 and currently has 847 members, whilst the
was established in May 2010 and has 71 members. APS also has some associated
group pages including the Caribbean division and the Tropical Plant Pathology
committee. There are no associated costs for societies or members to run
Facebook and the group pages.
Group pages allow daily feeds, which are termed wall posts, of relevant
information submitted by members, such as a new research find or a request for
information for example. Meeting and conference information can be posted which
allow members to see who is attending the meeting. Group pages also allow
uploads of photos and videos which currently are being used to upload the latest
meeting photos on APS for example.
The majority of users of Facebook are in the younger generation; mostly students
and early career researchers. Recently there has been a lot of popular media
attention about the privacy issue posted on Facebook and how it may be used. Of
course there are no guarantees, and users should be careful to include only the
information they feel comfortable revealing. Within the administrative settings
of the Facebook accounts there are security options that allow the user to
ensure the information, such as photos and wall posts, can only be seen by
people who are your friends on Facebook. Group pages, such as those of the APPS
and APS, can also be made private, such that an administrator accepts new
members. In both cases, however, the societies have chosen to be open groups
allowing anyone to join. It should be noted that only people who have joined are
able to participate within the group.
Daniel Huberli, Creator and Co-administrator of APPS Facebook Page, Department
of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia.
Annan and Food Security
The World Food Prize Foundation presented its Norman E Borlaug Medallion to Kofi
Annan on 2 September 2010 for his international leadership and for bringing
attention to the issue of global food security. The Medallion is presented to
leaders whose actions have benefited mankind but who would not normally be
eligible for the World Food Prize. The presentation was made in Ghana, Kofi
Annan’s home country.
award was in recognition of his international leadership as Secretary-General of
the United Nations and as chairman of the board for the Alliance for a Green
Revolution in Africa. In both roles, Annan brought significant attention to the
issue of global food security, particularly in establishing the UN Millennium
Development Goals. These goals aim to meet the needs of the poorest people in
the world by 2015. Kofi Annan is now Chair of the board of the Alliance for a
Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), which seeks to achieve a
food secure and prosperous Africa through the promotion of rapid and sustainable
agricultural growth based on smallholder farmers. Many of these smallholders are
women and they produce most of Africa's food. AGRA works to ensure that they
have good seed, healthy soils and access to markets, information, financing,
storage and transport, and policies that provide them with comprehensive
support. The presentation in Ghana was on the occasion of the first
Forum of the African Green Revolution, which strives to promote
investments and policy support for driving agricultural productivity and income
growth for African farmers in a sustainable way.
Protection in Southern Britain
This is an AAB-organised conference to be held in the UK in February 2011 as
shown in “Coming Events”. It is the third in a series to provide a platform for
dissemination of recent developments in crop protection and production research
and practice aimed at advisors and practitioners.
Among topics to be covered are: Understanding and responding to pesticide
resistance; Implications of the loss or potential loss of approval for key
pesticide active ingredients; The role of non-chemical measures to support and
sustain pesticide control measures; Optimising the field management of
pesticides; New active ingredients and their role in future crop protection
systems; Impact of climate change and crop management on weeds, insects and
diseases and their management.
Invited speakers are Stephen Moss (Rothamsted Research, UK) on herbicide
resistance and Anne-Sophie Walker (INRA, Versailles, France) on fungicide
Bread Winner as Volume 3 of a Biography about the late Norman Borlaug
Noel Vietmeyer wrote that his Volume 3 about the
late Norman Borlaug will be out in October 2010. It is “Bread Winner 1960 –
1969” and covers a decade of triumph, wherein Borlaug goes from being
essentially unemployed to turning India and Pakistan from famine-wracked to
fully fed. These pages expose dozens more adventures, surprises, and angels of
deliverance as Borlaug rises from his career's low point to its ultimate high.
Expect more tears! And lots of cheers! Like Volumes 1 and 2, the new book sells
for half price: $US10 per copy. Shipping and handling is $US6.50 [for up to five
copies]. Copies will begin shipping on 18 October, but Noel is glad to take
orders now at e-mail.
International Society for Horticultural Science
The International Society for Horticultural Science (ISHS) has much common
ground with plant pathology. Its regular publications include Chronica Horticulturae
which in its September 2010 issue (Volume 50, number 3) has reports of recent
international symposia and conferences on Medicinal and Nutraceutical Plants;
Figs; Orchids; Loquat; Irrigation of Horticultural Crops; Date Palm; and
Cucurbits. It also has general coverage of the recent highly successful XXVIII International
in Lisbon, Portugal.
Among its many future events is the
III International Symposium on Guava and other Myrtaceae to
be held in Brazil in 2012. The next International Horticultural Congress
“Horticulture – sustaining lives, livelihoods and landscapes” will be in
Brisbane, Australia, in August 2014. See “Coming Events”.
I thank Greg Johnson and Peter Williamson for their
input to this issue.
International Workshop on Biological Control of Postharvest
Diseases: “Challenges and Opportunities” in Leesburg, Virginia, USA.
10th International Congress of Plant Pathology (ICPP2013) in Beijing, China.
25-30 August 2013.
Contact: Professor You-Liang Peng, Department of Plant Pathology, College of
Agriculture and Biotechnology, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, PR
China. Phone: +86-10-62733607; Fax: +86-10-62733607.