Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Horticulture Week Podcast: the wonders of biocontrols and integrated pest management with IPS’s Dr Sam Jones

28 January 2022,

Sam Jones and Matthew Appleby
Sam Jones and Matthew Appleby


International pheromone systems’ Dr Sam Jones is an expert in the use of pheromones for biocontrol.

He is an entomologist with a keen interest in insect taxonomy, chemical ecology and behaviour and uses his knowledge of chemistry and insect behaviour to develop new and improved products for the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) market. 

Dr Jones talks explains how biocontrols work, the use of pheromones and semiochemicals, attracting beneficial insects and how an ecological balance is maintained.

He reveals novel solutions he is working on, including the use of sound on apple codling moths, work to address emerging pests, and smart traps.

Recently, the World BioProtection Forum and 30 industry organisations (including HortWeek) co-signed an open letter to the UK’s Health & Safety Executive regulators to urgently review and reform the process for new bioprotection products in the UK (micro-organisms, semiochemicals and botanicals). Dr Jones speaks about the issues that have prompted this move and why he thinks it matters.

He also reveals how he maximises the variety of plant and animal species in his own garden and reveals his own Desert Island Plant. 

Podcast presenter: HW editor Matthew Appleby
Producer: HW digital content manager, Christina Taylor

Make sure you never miss a Horticulture Week podcast! Subscribe to or Follow Horticulture Week podcasts via Apple PodcastsSpotify or Google Podcasts or your preferred podcast platform. 

If you are interested in producing a podcast with Horticulture Week, contact matthew.appleby@haymarket.com. 

Listener feedback – please email hortweek@haymarket.com with “Podcast” at the beginning of the subject line.


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Digital Engagement and Training Helps Increase Agro-Dealer and Farmer Knowledge on Integrated Pest Management in East Africa

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Integrated Pest Management Innovation Lab

Aug 19, 2021

A group of people training with the Tanzanian Agricultural Research Institute (TARI)

This post is written by Sara Hendery, communications coordinator for the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Integrated Pest Management

Given Tanzania’s diverse geographical landscape, it’s no surprise the country is among the world’s top 20 producers of vegetables. Nevertheless, farmers remain in search of ways to combat the pests and diseases that threaten crop yields every season.

Results of a survey conducted by Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Integrated Pest Management partners at the Tanzanian Agricultural Research Institute (TARI) show that the majority of Tanzanian farmers receive key knowledge on how to manage pests and disease not only from extension personnel, but often from agricultural supply dealers, or agro-dealers. While agro-dealers do carry valuable information, resources and inputs, the survey also shows that many agro-dealers have limited formal knowledge on vegetable production or protective measures for applying chemical pesticides.

To address these gaps, TARI began providing cohesive training to agro-dealers, farmers and extension officers on vegetable production and pest and disease management. Training covers such areas as Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs), Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and safe handling and use of agricultural inputs, including pesticides. Thus far, 500 participants have been trained in the Coast and Morogoro regions. The GAP training in particular helps farmers build capacity in reporting and record-keeping, assessing input quality and crop hygiene, and training in IPM provides information on bio- and botanical pesticides, pruning, developing seedlings in a nursery environment and how to apply pesticides with minimal body exposure.   

“Knowing that farmers receive their pest and disease management knowledge from agro-dealers provides us important insight into how to best reach farmers with up-to-date information,” said Dr. Fred Tairo, principal agricultural research officer at TARI-Mikocheni. “If we want farmers to adopt sustainable, climate-smart and productive inputs that might be outside of their typical use, an important pathway to reaching them is through the people that farmers already trust and are familiar with.” 

In a group of 69 agro-dealers surveyed, only 49 were registered and licensed to run agricultural shops. The 20 unregistered participants had received no formal training in crop production or pesticide safety and use, and most participants not only had no prior knowledge on how to dispose of expired pesticides, but did not sell bio-pesticides or chemical pesticide alternatives at their shops. Since registering as an agro-dealer can cost nearly $200, TARI is collaborating with the Tropical Pesticides Research Institute (TPRI), a regulatory authority for pesticides in Tanzania, to consider lowering the costs.  

TARI and the IPM Innovation Lab are increasing communication through digital platforms to reach more agricultural actors with safe and effective approaches to pest and disease management. A Kiswahili-based (Swahili) WhatsApp group named “Kilima cha Mboga kisasa,” or modern vegetable cultivation, currently shares information with 154 farmers, extension agents and agro-dealers in Tanzania who can use the app to cite crop threats and receive expert management guidance in return.

Participants post a picture or video of the crop problem for immediate diagnosis. Not only do agro-dealers in the group directly learn about farmers’ most pressing problems, but they can use the platform to market agri-inputs, including the IPM products they learn about through the platform. 

“Even if members of this group do not necessarily follow up with formal training we offer, this is a low-stakes knowledge-sharing space that they can be a part of and receive guidance from,” Tairo added. 

To increase access to information and inputs, the IPM Innovation Lab is also collaborating with Real IPM, a private company based in Kenya that develops low-cost biological and holistic crop solutions available in Kenya and Tanzania. In just one year, the company has provided training to thousands of farmers in seven counties in Kenya by targeting farmer groups, the majority of which are made up of women. Real IPM has developed training manuals on IPM, a WhatsApp group for crop health assistance and a free web portal for diagnosis and IPM recommendations of specific crop threats. 

“Our goal is to make IPM solutions more accessible,” said Ruth Murunde, research and development manager at Real IPM. “When you enter a pest or disease into our web portal, those images, diagnosis and IPM recommendations stay posted. We know that many farmers are experiencing similar issues to one another and collective action against crop threats is an effective way to combat them more long-term.”

While technology constraints remain — including smartphone, internet and electricity access — making learning spaces available for a range of crop production actors is critical to adoption of sustainable, effective farming solutions. 

Currently, the Real IPM database hosts over 7,000 participants and has collected over 200 infected crop images.

“The Real IPM technical team is actively working to support farmers by providing biopesticides as a solution for mitigating pests and diseases on vegetable crops to ensure sustainable agriculture for smallholder farmers,” added Murunde. “Our information networks help disseminate best practice methods for using those tools.”  

For more information on IPM training or Real IPM products, contact saraeh91@vt.edu.

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IAPPS website has been upgraded in the recent times to make it more functional and user friendly. A couple of new sections have recently been included in the new website. One of them, ‘Plant Protection Stories’ has been created with the aim to promote the development of an integrated approach to research on plant protection and to its world-wide education and practical application. This section will contain information to assist Plant Protection practitioners. Materials for this section will be supplied by IAPPS members in the form of reports, videos, and podcasts to illustrate the complexity of contemporary weed, pest and disease problems and the measures taken to manage them. The material contained in this section is original and reflects the views of the submitter but is intended to provide information, encourage debate, and advance the cause of plant protection. Short Stories editors will invite submissions that address issues in integrated plant protection and its promotion, describing successes and failures. However, endorsements of commercial products will not be accepted. The editorial committee is composed ofSrinivasan Ramasamy, Nora Altier, Manuele Tamò, and Trevor Jackson. Currently four stories have been published, which can be accessed at https://www.plantprotection.org/plant-protection-stories/. The editorial committee invites more new plant protection stories from IAPPS members.

Dr. Srinivasan Ramasamy
Chair, Short Stories Editorial Committee

AIRCA Representative on IAPPS Governing Board

E-mail: srini.ramasamy@worldveg.org

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Rice Scientists,

About 5 months ago the US AGRONOMY journal invited me to write a review. Since it is pandemic time I thought it will be a nice mental challenge. After peer reviews, corrections, editing etc, it is finally published. Those interested the online version is available for those interested. https://www.mdpi.com/2073-4395/11/11/2208/pdf

KL Heong


Ecological Engineering for Rice Insect Pest Management: The Need to Communicate Widely, Improve Farmers’ Ecological Literacy and Policy Reforms to Sustain Adoption

by Kong-Luen Heong 1,*,Zhong-Xian Lu 2,Ho-Van Chien 3,Monina Escalada 4,Josef Settele 5,Zeng-Rong Zhu 1 andJia-An Cheng 11Institute of Insect Sciences, College of Agriculture and Biotechnology, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058, China2Institute of Plant Protection and Microbiology, Zhejiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Hangzhou 310021, China3Department of Plant Protection, Mekong University, Vinh Long 890000, Vietnam4Department of Development Communication, Visayas State University, Baybay City 6521, Philippines5Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research—UFZ, 06120 Halle, Germany*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.Academic Editor: George G. KennedyAgronomy202111(11), 2208; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11112208Received: 20 September 2021 / Revised: 24 October 2021 / Accepted: 29 October 2021 / Published: 30 October 2021(This article belongs to the Special Issue Crop Pest Management Based on Ecological Principles)
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Ecological engineering (EE) involves the design and management of human systems based on ecological principles to maximize ecosystem services and minimize external inputs. Pest management strategies have been developed but farmer adoption is lacking and unsustainable. EE practices need to be socially acceptable and it requires shifts in social norms of rice farmers. In many countries where pesticides are being marketed as “fast moving consumer goods” (FMCG) it is a big challenge to shift farmers’ loss-averse attitudes. Reforms in pesticide marketing policies are required. An entertainment education TV series was able to reach wider audience to improve farmers’ ecological literacy, shifting beliefs and practices. To sustain adoption of ecologically based practices organizational structures, incentives systems and communication strategies to support the new norms and practices are needed. View Full-TextKeywords: ecological engineeringentertainment-educationadoptionsustainabilityrice insect pest managementrice farmerspesticide marketingpolicy reformecosystem services▼ Show Figures

Figure 1This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited

s▼ Show Figures

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Three-year grant awarded to LSU AgCenter for integrated pest management

By BPT Staff – October 26, 2021 2 0

Writer: V. Todd Miller at vtmiller@agcenter.lsu.edu

The Louisiana agriculture industry is valued at more than $12 billion. But with the state’s subtropical climate comes insects, diseases and weeds, which affect every facet of the business.

A three-year National Institutes of Food and Agriculture grant was recently awarded to a team of LSU AgCenter researchers and extension specialists who are combining their decades of experience to find solutions to a variety of harmful pests.

The Extension Implementation Program grant — valued at $110,000 for the first year and $106,000 each subsequent year, based on meeting certain criteria in year one — was awarded to entomologist Gene Reagan and plant pathologist Boyd Padgett. They are working alongside research associate Forest Huval and graduate assistant Megan Mulcahy. The funds are dedicated to supporting extension programs in the state.

The team has set four objectives for their work: improved monitoring and management of agronomic pests; personnel support for the LSU AgCenter Plant Diagnostic Center; development and distribution of education and extension materials; and pesticide recertification, safety and application training.

Huval is tackling objective No. 1 in part by mapping the Mexican rice borer, a scourge of rice and sugarcane production in the state.

“On a weekly or biweekly basis, I’ll go out and check traps we’ve laced with pheromones to lure the insect in,” Huval said. “We’re currently monitoring them in 13 parishes and plan to expand further in the coming months.”

On the pathology front of the first objective, Padgett is studying certain classes of fungicides that were once effective but no longer are. He’s trying to determine where resistant pathogen populations exist.

“Some spores can be windblown from parish to parish,” Padgett said. “But in many cases, they can also be found in infested plant debris.”

The “integrated” part of integrated pest management can be understood by objective No. 2: personnel support for the Plant Diagnostic Center, which processes hundreds of plant samples affected by various biotic and abiotic stresses from Louisiana citizens each year.

Objective No. 3, development and distribution of educational materials, includes the brochures, pamphlets and fact sheets that can be found at each of the AgCenter’s 64 parish offices statewide. But the grant project looks at ways to expand into the realm of electronic media with the potential creation of a dedicated YouTube channel focusing strictly on insects as well as an app where a person can take a photo of a diseased plant, send it in and have the problem identified.

“The idea is all of this would be entirely free to the user and anyone seeking out information,” Reagan said.

When it comes to objective No. 4 — pesticide registration, safety and application training — the researchers all agree that not all insecticides, herbicides and fungicides play well together. More often than not, a combination is needed for maximum crop yield. Padgett said the importance of training in the application of both private and commercial pesticides can’t be ignored.

“When it comes to pesticides, we always go back to drift mitigation,” Padgett said. “If you spray a field or garden and the wind blows it into someone else’s property, no matter how big or small, it can be problematic.”

Where pesticides certainly help control harmful pests, beneficial insects are not always immune. One among many factors that comes into play with pesticide application is ensuring the health of pollinators, which are indispensable to life on the planet. Mulcahy said the public must always be aware of potential dangers.

“You could imagine if you had a business where they produced and sold honey, someone could unknowingly apply a pyrethroid insecticide and wipe out the entire hive,” she said. “So, if we were to break it down, education and outreach on issues like these are really what the goal of the grant is about.”

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October 7, 2021

Laura Hollis

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Watch the PlantwisePlus Launch Video

This week saw the digital launch of CABI’s new global programme – PlantwisePlus. The online event featured presentations from both CABI representatives as well as partner organisations, including FAO and the governments of Kenya and the Netherlands.https://www.youtube.com/embed/YwglWPNK1m0?feature=oembedPlantwisePlus launch video

The event was an opportunity to highlight the impact CABI’s Plantwise and Action on Invasives programmes have had since launching in 2011 and how PlantwisePlus aims to build on those achievements.

Contributors to the event included:

– Dr Daniel Elger, Chief Executive Officer, CABI

– Dr Ismahane Elouafi, Chief Scientist, FAO

– Prof Hamadi Boga, Permanent Secretary at the Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries

– Astrid Mastenbroek, Senior Policy Advisor on Food and Nutritional Security at the Netherlands Minsitry for Foreign Affairs

– Dr Ulrich Kuhlman, Executive Director of Global Operations, CABI

– Dr Dennis Rangi, Director General for Development, CABI

In his welcome address, CABI’s CEO Daniel Elger spoke of the knowledge and experience that underpins CABI’s work in solving problems in agriculture and the environment.

“That’s why CABI is so well positioned to deliver a global programme that will make a significant impact, helping smallholder farmers to have increased incomes and grow safer and higher quality food through sustainable approaches to crop production.”

Daniel Elger, Chief Executive Officer, CABI

Dr Ismahane Elouafi, FAO Chief Scientist, spoke of the challenges facing plant health and global food systems. In her presentation, Dr Elouafi emphasised the importance of stakeholder development programmes such as PlantwisePlus in tackling the challenges facing agri-food system.

“These programs had improved farmers yields, so there is more food and more income for rural communities. …  FAO has collaborated in many areas with CABI in the past and we look forward to working with CABI again with their PlantwisePlus programme.”

Dr Ismahane Elouafi, Chief Scientist, FAO
PlantwisePlus launch
Female farmer © CABI

Professor Hamadi Boga, Permanent Secretary at the Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries spoke of the impact Plantwise has had in Kenya over the last ten years. Pests and diseases are major obstacles to productivity among Kenyan farmers. Since 2011, the Kenyan government has been working with Plantwise to address these challenges.

“Workers have up-to-date information and, the platform that has been created out of this project, will guarantee success and increase productivity and higher income for farmers.”

Professor Hamadi Boga, Permanent Secretary at the Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries

Astrid Mastenbroek, Senior Policy Advisor on Food and Nutritional Security at the Netherlands Ministry for Foreign Affairs explained why the Netherlands government-supported Plantwise in the past and will be supporting PlantwisePlus going forward.

“We expect that PlantwisePlus will contribute significantly to sustainable agricultural development … we look forward to the successful delivery of this programme.”

Astrid Mastenbroek, Netherlands Minsitry for Foreign Affairs

CABI’s Executive Director of Global Operations, Dr Ulrich Kuhlman, is also the new PlantwisePlus Programme Executive. Dr Kuhlman provided an outline of PlantwisePlus including the challenges the programme seeks to address and the outcomes being worked towards.

Dr Kuhlman gave details on the four focus areas for the new programme: (a) strengthening detection of and response to pest outbreaks; (b) providing public and private agricultural service providers with better digital advisory tools to support farmers in sustainable crop management; (c) enhancing the availability of nature-positive and low-risk plant protection products to reduce reliance on high-risk farm inputs; (d) increasing consumer demand for and supply to local markets of safer, higher quality and locally produced food.

Attendees were invited to participate in a question-and-answer session with the PlantwisePlus global team leaders: Claire CurryDr Monica KansiimeDr Ivan Rwomushana and Dr Belinda Luke. They were joined by Dr Wade Jenner, Deputy Programme Executive for PlantwisePlus.

The event ended with a closing statement from CABI’s Director General for Development, Dr Dennis Rangi. Dr Rangi thanked the donors for their contributions to the event.

“PlantwisePlus is a programme built on partnerships and it is precisely this spirit of collaboration that we have experienced today that will ensure the success of the programme.”

Dr Dennis Rangi, Director General for Development, CABI

The e-launch is now available online: watch the PlantwisePlus launch

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Diagnostic Entomology Photography Workshop

USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s Identification Technology Program (ITP), in collaboration with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, announce a virtual workshop on techniques for producing high quality, identification-worthy images of insects and other arthropods, for publication in digital identification tools.

Please save the date: October 19, 2021, at 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm Eastern time (U.S.), for a workshop via Zoom.

If you have any questions about the workshop, feel free to just reply to this email. (Or, you may contact Hume Douglas (hume.douglas@agr.gc.ca) with questions).



Amanda Redford 

Identification Technology Program (ITP)

USDA APHIS PPQ Science & Technology (S&T)

amanda.j.redford@usda.gov| https://idtools.org

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Click here to view in browser.   SIL’s NEW Soybean Rust Crash Course and Rust Spray Calculator available now!
JULY 29, 2021 Soybean field with heavy rust pressure (brown patches) interspersed with strips that were treated for soybean rust with fungicide. Photo credit: Sikora et al.   Soybean rust is one of the most significant diseases that affects soybean yield. It can spread quickly and cause up to an 80% loss in yield. It’s a frustrating challenge for producers and breeders, but there are practices and management techniques that growers can employ to ensure a good return on investment for their soybean production.

SIL’s new course, the Soybean Rust Crash Course, is designed for growers, practitioners, breeders, and researchers to learn how to identify the disease, scout for disease at the optimal stage, and manage the disease before it’s too late.     The Soybean Rust Crash Course is free and includes four modules: 1. The Pathogen and symptoms; 2. Scouting; 3. Management; and 4. For breeders and researchers, more information on data collection and varietal resistance.

Module 3 covers disease management and includes a Rust Spray Calculator, designed to aid in environmentally responsible and economically feasible decision-making on whether or not fungicides should be used to control rust outbreaks. The calculator bases recommendations on growth of the crop and rust pressure, and then determines the economic gain that can be achieved by considering a grower’s local fungicide cost, labor cost, and grain price.   The Rust Spray Calculator provides growers with evidence-based decision making on whether they should use fungicides to control rust observed in their fields.   The importance of scouting a field from beginning bloom to full seed development cannot be overemphasized. Finding the disease before it takes over provides an opportunity to spray with fungicide and save up to 80% of yield. The Soybean Rust Crash Course, combined with the Rust Spray Calculator, provides specific recommendations for growers, from scouting techniques and identification of soybean rust, to analyzing the potential economic benefits of spraying. For breeders and researchers, the course goes into more depth about plot-level data collection and the current state of varietal resistance.

Successful completion of the Soybean Rust Crash Course will result in a Certificate of Completion that can be shared on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.   SIL’s Disease Management program has several other resources that complement the new Soybean Rust Crash Course and Rust Spray Calculator including: The Field Guide to African Disease, Pests, and Nutrition Deficiencies The Guide to African Soybean Seedborne Diseases and Pests The Soybean Rust Disease Bulletin The Soybean Innovation Lab Disease and Pest ID Board on Facebook The Rust Hot Spot Map – see below You can find several other free courses at SIL-University   The Tropical Soybean Information Portal (TSIP) features a Rust Hot Spot Map. The map is a tool containing trial and operator information on rust disease incidence and severity over seven seasons and 57 locations. To view the Rust Hot Spot Map, click on the pathogen icon on the left side of the map located on the TSIP homepage.     Like On Facebook Like On Facebook Follow On Twitter Follow On Twitter Visit Our Website Visit Our Website Contact Us Contact Us   Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Soybean Value Chain Research (Soybean Innovation Lab)
1301 West Gregory Drive, Urbana, IL 61801 * Tel. (217) 333-7425 * soybeaninnovationlab@illinois.edu  

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To develop the research and educational capacity in Sub-Sahara Africa in the field of nematology, or the study of roundworms, a joint Erasmus+ KA2 project was recently launched. The Erasmus+ project, Capacity Building in Higher Education (CBHE): Nematology Education in Sub-Sahara Africa (NEMEDUSSA), is a joint effort by a consortium of Universities from Sub-Sahara Africa and Europe.

This three-year project (2021-2023) is co-funded by the European Union (Erasmus+ KA2 CBHE) and VLIR-UOS, and is linked to the objectives of the Erasmus+ Programme. The aims are to encourage cooperation between the EU and Partner Countries and support eligible Partner Countries in addressing challenges in the management and governance of their higher education institutions.

Specifically, NEMEDUSSA aims to increase awareness of nematodes and expand educational and research capacities in higher education and other institutions in Sub-Sahara Africa in this field. Nematodes or roundworms cause significant damage and yield loss to a wide variety of crops often together with other pathogens. Unfortunately, nematodes are often overlooked or misdiagnosed, resulting in the unnecessary use of unhealthy agro-chemicals. Nematodes can also be used as bio-control agents against insect pests and/or as bio-control agents for environmental health and biodiversity.

Despite the profound adverse impact plant-parasitic nematodes have on productivity worldwide, it is striking how concealed the discipline of nematology has remained, particularly in Sub-Sahara Africa. This project aims to address the need for increased capacity and specialised training in handling these pathogens, so that plant-parasitic nematodes are managed correctly and beneficial nematodes can be implemented as biocontrol organisms.

To achieve this, the project focuses on 6 core activities:

  1. Developing Curricula. Develop curricula in nematology on BSc and MSc level for the integration into existing educational programmes in English and French, for both lecturers and students.
  2. Training Staff. Improve the nematological expertise of academic and technical staff to enhance teaching capacity.
  3. Upgrading lab facilities. Increase the number of student microscopes, lab and demonstration equipment to augment hands-on training.
  4. Nematology digital learning platform. Develop an open-access platform to share and disseminate nematological knowledge, develop curricular modules, knowledge clips, etc.
  5. Nematology Network. Enhance cooperation between nematologists in Sub-Sahara Africa by providing networking tools, workshops on relevant topics in nematology and sharing good practices in education, promoting collaboration with a focus on young nematologists.
  6. Creating awareness. Facilitate dissemination activities and involve a range of different stakeholders such as farmers, extension service workers, policy makers, students and private and public sector.

Ghent University (Belgium) coordinates NEMEDUSSA, in cooperation with:

  • University Abomey-Calavi, Benin
  • University of Parakou, Benin
  • Haramaya University, Ethiopia
  • Jimma University, Ethiopia
  • Kenyatta University, Kenya
  • Moi University, Kenya
  • Ahmadu-Bello University, Nigeria
  • University of Ibadan, Nigeria
  • North West University, South Africa
  • Stellenbosch University, South Africa
  • Makerere University, Uganda
  • Muni University, Uganda
  • University Côte d’Azur, France

The work of this project is further supported by 36 associated partners from the private and public sectors in Sub-Sahara Africa.

For more information about the NEMEDUSSA project, please see www.nemedussa.ugent.be or contact us at nemedussa@ugent.be.  

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The Hellenic (Greek) Society of Phytiatry is requesting your support (Yes or No) of the introduction of Plant Medicine (Plant Doctor) in academia as a distinct university curriculum. The very brief survey (electronic vote) can be found at:


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