BUJUMBURA June 6th (ABP) – Plantwise Burundi, the program implemented by CABI in partnership with ISABU which aims to help farmers increase their food security and improve rural livelihoods by minimizing food losses due to plant diseases and pests, has again organized phytosanitary campaigns, according to a press release issued previously.
According to the press release, the ongoing campaign will see trained plant doctors and plant health specialists from the Ministry of Environment, Agriculture and Livestock and the Institute of Agronomic Sciences of Burundi (ISABU) and will visit over 60 sites reaching over 5,000 farmers in Bururi, Rumonge, Rutana, Makamba, Ruyigi, Cankuzo, Karusi, Muyinga, Kirundo as well as parts of Gitega and Bujumbura province.
Farmers are informed about the most common crop diseases and pests such as banana bacterial wilt, potato late blight and bacteriosis, tomato Tuta absoluta and maize fall armyworm, mealybug mango, black bean aphids. They are also informed about the careful management of pesticides which are at risk for human health and the environment and the use of protective equipment when using pesticides, the press release has continued to reveal.
Within that framework, experts provide practical advice on the best soil management and growing techniques for improved agricultural production. The press release further states that building knowledge for farmers is essential to support farming communities. According to experts, the same press release has added, smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa suffer losses equivalent to 30 to 40% of their total yields due to pests attacking their crops. This is why they need support to diagnose the problems and also identify practical, affordable and environmentally friendly measures to solve them.
The press release has indicated that during the field gatherings that Plantwise has organized, it was noted that they also had the opportunity to raise awareness of the existence of more than 115 plant clinics of the Plantwise program, which now operate at the level of all communes in all 18 provinces of Burundi. Plant clinics work like clinics for human health: farmers visit with samples of their problem crops, and plant doctors diagnose the problem and make recommendations for safe, effective, practical, economical and available management.