CHAP has funded the distribution of electronic devices in the form of tablets to plant doctors in a number of countries to improve plant doctor efficiency and to speed up the recording and validation of pests and diseases.

The tablets provide access to agri-advisory information that helps agronomists and farmers understand and control plant pests and diseases relevant to their crops.

Data about disease locations can be mapped against variables like weather and soil type so we can forecast likely spread and issue alerts to farmers, government and the food sector, which can then inform growers what to look out for and how to act, when an outbreak occurs.

Delays in validation have been reduced from 3+ months to a matter of hours. This means new diseases and outbreaks can be caught much more quickly. These tablets now play a crucial role in the work carried out in the network of plant clinics around the world run by CABI.

This is important because the UK derives 50% of its food from 190 countries, many of which are developing countries like Kenya, Ghana, Nepal and Malawi, with relatively poor plant health advisory services. Growers, generally smallholder farmers, get little access to pest and disease information or warnings, and rarely receive objective advice about the correct, safe use of agrichemicals therefore using too much, too often even when using the right active ingredient: 40% of EU food rejections are a result of pesticide residues.

Such early warning improves not just the food security of smallholder farmers but of the UK, too.

Our services include:

Electronic tablets for plant doctors to:

  • access an international database of pest and disease information
  • offer diagnosis and a prescription on how to treat the problem
  • keep a record of local plant symptoms
  • offer advice on better farming practices, bio-control or, in some cases a recommended safe chemical solution

So far 5,000 plant doctors are running 2,000+ clinics with 10 million farmers benefitting. By 2020 CABI aims to reach 30 million farmers in 40 countries.

Credit: CABI

For more information about how CHAP’s tablets help plant doctors, please watch this clip or visit www.plantwise.org. The Plantwise knowledge bank hosts free information on over 2,500 pests affecting a huge variety of host plants, including images of symptoms, disease distribution maps, treatment guides and pest warnings.┬áThis includes free information on over 600 pests affecting the UK.

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