Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

First Plant Disease Clinic to Aid Farmers Opened in Bangladesh

23.06.2008
Farmers in Bangladesh who are battling outbreaks of leaf blight and insect pests are now getting expert help from Southeast Asia’s first plant disease clinic, co-founded by Robert Wick of the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The clinic is housed at the Bangladesh Agricultural University in Mymensingh, under the direction of co-founder M. Bahadur Meah.

“Several farmers attended the opening ceremony, including one who had travelled over 20 kilometers by bus and rickshaw to find out what was stunting the growth of his bitter gourd vines,” says Wick, a professor of plant pathology who secured funding for the clinic from the U.S.D.A. Foreign Agricultural Service. “Clearly, they were desperate for ways to increase their crop yields.”

An online journal on Bangladesh by Wick can be found at
http://people.umass.edu/wick/fulbright/2008.html.
According to Wick, Bangladesh claimed to be self-sufficient in 2005, but unexpected losses due to pests and weather have kept farmers from producing enough food to satisfy demand. Rice has been especially hard-hit, forcing the government to import this staple crop, which is eaten daily by most Bangladeshi. Lines of women and children waiting to purchase rice at a reduced cost have become a familiar fixture in many cities.

A significant part of the problem is that an estimated 20 percent of the crops grown in Bangladesh are lost to insect pests and diseases before they reach the table. Increasing the amount of land used for agriculture won’t solve the problem. “Most of the arable land is already under crop production, and in some cases, a single plot of land produces up to three crops each year,” says Wick. “Increases in food production will come from using high-yield cultivars and the management of pests and weeds.”

Through the clinic, farmers and extension agents finally have a way to positively identify hundreds of plant diseases caused by microorganisms, instead of relying on visual inspections, which are often inaccurate. Farmers will be able to bring plant samples to the clinic, and the staff will use culturing techniques and microscopes to identify which fungus, bacteria or virus is causing the problem. The clinic will also identify insect pests, and provide information on nutrient deficiencies and their causes.

After receiving a diagnosis, farmers will be advised on the best management practices for controlling their particular problem, which will protect their health and the health of the environment by reducing pesticide use.

“Right now, farmers in Bangladesh believe that a prescription for pesticides will solve their crop problems, but this won’t help if the damage stems from bacteria or a plant virus,” says Wick. “At the clinic, they will be told how to manage crops in an environmentally friendly way, using cultural methods like weeding, rotating crops and trapping pests.”

According to estimates by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the average pesticide application rate in Bangladesh is currently 1.36 kilograms per hectare, which is equivalent to roughly 2.5 acres. This exceeds the recommended environmentally safe rate of 0.98 kilograms per hectare. Most of the pesticides are being used on rice crops, a situation that has led to water quality problems and the death of fish. Clinic staff will also educate farmers on the safe use of pesticides.

Although recently opened, the center has an ambitious agenda. In addition to helping farmers increase their crop yields and financial security, the center will educate extension specialists and students by offering workshops. Wick taught diagnostic plant pathology in Bangladesh as a Fulbright Scholar in 2006.

The clinic can also provide a quality control center for certifying that plants for export are free of pathogens, identify important or emerging problems that require investigation, and develop a historic record of the occurrence of plant diseases.

Eventually, the team hopes to establish clinics in each of the six districts of Bangladesh, similar to the plant disease clinics found at land grant universities in each state in the U.S.

Robert Wick | newswise
Further information:
http://people.umass.edu/wick/fulbright/2008.html
http://www.umass.edu/

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Alkaline soil, sensible sensor
03.08.2017 | American Society of Agronomy

nachricht New 3-D model predicts best planting practices for farmers
26.06.2017 | Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>