One health approaches to managing crop diseases in rural villages
September 16, 2021
Prof. David Guest AM
School of Life & Environmental Sciences, Sydney Institute of Agriculture, Sydney, Australia.
Crop losses due to disease contribute to food insecurity and poverty in developing economies. While decades of research have developed effective disease management options they are not always taken up by farmers, and crop losses remain high. Yields of cocoa have stagnated despite millions of dollars spent on research and farmer training over the past 50 years. In surveys of cocoa farmers in Sulawesi and Bougainville farming knowledge and access to technology were not identified as the primary constraints to cocoa production. The major constraint was found to be low labour productivity resulting from the poor education and health of farming families and limited income diversification. Our finding is further supported by reports of increased local food and cocoa production during the COVID-19 pandemic. While the return of migrant labour from urban centres to remote rural communities increased the demand for food, the relatively young, healthy and well-educated returning workforce has been more innovative and less risk averse to the adoption of new technologies. Despite the apparent failure of conventional extension approaches farmer training programs remain the focus of many agricultural development programs. We argue that rather than basing development programs on the assumption that poor farmers lack the skills to improve production, or designing programs responding to consumer concerns or public diplomacy goals, assistance should focus identifying and addressing the actual needs of smallholder farming families. Investment in improved access to education and health services linked with farmer training would result in more productive, healthier and more food secure communities, particularly in remote rural areas..
Plant Disease Clinic, Department of Plant Pathology, Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan.
Pakistan Phytopathological Society.
Webinar registration is opened on September 08, 2021 and will be closed on September 16, 2021.