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Crop protection in the Indian Ocean is weaving its web

Let us suppose that a new fruit fly species is observed on an island in the southwestern Indian Ocean. As soon as the information is confirmed, it is released on the Internet.

This type of alert can now be issued from five Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) islands - Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Réunion, Seychelles - involved in the regional crop protection programme (PRPV). This is thanks to a website,, to which crop protection professionals now have access.

The programme is funded by the European Development Fund, and will cover the period 2003-2008. CIRAD is a partner, through the Plant Communities and Bioinvaders in Tropical Environments Joint Research Unit. In particular, it designed the website, which aims to build a network of the various stakeholders in the phytosanitary and horticultural fields in the islands of the southwestern Indian Ocean. The idea is to facilitate and encourage exchanges between the different operators in the phyto-horticultural sector and thus promote synergic and effective action in terms of crop protection.

Within this framework, several organizations in each participating country have been provided with computer hardware and servers. They can thus communicate with one another via forums, and possibly with a broader audience, on subjects concerning their professional operations. They can also feed certain parts of the website directly, depending on their type of expertise. This means that for each country, information will be available on agricultural statistics, the phytosanitary situation, phytosanitary regulations, forms and certificates required for import and export of plant material, control methods against crop pests, etc.

Around ten professionals per country - from horticultural centres, crop protection services (CPSs), agricultural research and development centres and extension services – have been trained to use the tool, to enable them to publish information on line. From now on, as soon as a new pest is observed on one of the islands, the contributors will publish an alert on the website’s home page, describing the pest and giving appropriate control recommendations for each island. Similarly, phytosanitary sheets on the most common pests in the region are now available on line. The sheets, which were written by experts, are particularly geared towards agricultural technicians and farmers, for use in their daily work. They are to be supplemented by thematic reports covering practical questions about topics such as crop breeding, crop diseases, etc.

Lastly, other tools are also available on line, including a directory of horticultural crop protection professionals in each IOC country, a glossary, documentary resources, and downloadable books and publications. The website will also shortly be hosting a database, open to all users, on pests in the region.

The establishment of the computer network and website was supported by the State, territorial authorities and the European Union (EFRD).

| alfa
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