The importance of mitigating losses from pest invasion through adequate crop, fruit and vegetable healthcare was reiterated to Agriculture Officers in the Northern Division.
During a recent Plant Health Clinic training held in Labasa this week, Ministry officials were reminded of the risks associated with growing crops, fruits and vegetables in rural or urban areas as pest invasion had adverse effects on plant growth.
While addressing participants at the workshop, Principal Agriculture Officer Northern Paula Tuione said: “A major function of the plant health clinic is surveillance and monitoring of new pest and disease incursions which normally would not be intercepted unless a national pest survey is carried out.”
He added the training was also aimed at building and sustaining the capacity to develop Integrated Crop Management (ICM) strategies to support the sustainable intensification of high-value crop production for the export and domestic markets within the region.
“Though transfer of technology does not necessarily fall in the domain of the Plant Health Clinic, yet knowledge sharing and getting feedback from stakeholders is a common phenomenon.
“Today, PHC may be considered a unique platform which plays a twin role of a physician diagnosing plant ailments and providing remedies and as a teacher in empowering growers on various aspects of crop husbandry and pest management towards sustainable agriculture/horticulture,” Mr Tuione said.
The three-day training involved overhead presentations, provision of reference materials, field visitations, group discussions and presentations on how to describe symptoms, make a diagnosis to identify the causal agent and providing management prescriptions of any sick plant affected by biotic, abiotic or unknown factors.
Source: DEPTFO News
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