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Using pulse diversity to manage pests and diseases

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In light of the 'Soils and pulses: symbiosis for life – A contribution to the Agenda 2030' event that took place at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), Bioversity International's researcher Paola De Santis highlighted the importance of pulse diversity in managing pests and diseases in farmers' fields. Planting diverse pulse varieties can reduce the farm’s vulnerability to pests and diseases, and is a risk management strategy for unpredictability in rainfall and temperatures.

Learn more about Bioversity International's research on managing pests and diseases: http://bit.ly/23ZWtBW

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Using pulse diversity to manage pests and diseases

  1. 1. Using pulse diversity to manage pests and diseases Paola De Santis, Agricultural Ecosystems Researcher, Bioversity International 19 April 2016
  2. 2. Smallholder farmers maintain substantial numbers of traditional varieties of pulses. Many are grown for their resistance to major pests and diseases, adaptation to temperature and rainfall extremes, poor soil conditions, reduced cooking time, and taste. Crop varietal diversity in farmers’ fields Changes in pest and pathogen populations Unpredictability of rain and temperature/ water scarce poor soils 2009 wet 2010 dry Linking Diversity with disease resistance and climate Ochoa et al., 2010, unpublished data Photo: M. Arbaoui
  3. 3. Central hypothesis Genetic uniformity of monocultures (wide areas planted to a single pulse variety) leads to genetic vulnerability, Therefore Increasing intra-specific diversity of pulses on farm may lead to reduced losses from pests and diseases Only if the diversity exists in relevant traits Photo:BioversityInternational/I.Lopez-Noriega
  4. 4. Crops (food security for smallholder farmers; different breeding systems) • Coverage of different resistance gene system (where resistance is controlled by both major and minor genes) • Transmission systems: seed-borne, soil-borne, and air-borne • Plant organ affected: leaf, stem, seeds and roots Is varietal diversity in farmers’ fields reducing pest and disease damage and vulnerability to future loss? Diversity Disease ?
  5. 5. Can increasing the level of diversity in a field, in a controlled selected repeatable way, with well chosen components, give a benefit over monocultures, or treatments with less diversity? Photo: M. Arbaoui Photo:J.Adokorach
  6. 6. HouseholdweighteddamageindexWDI Number of varieties grown per household Angular Leave Spot Anthracnose In times of higher disease incidence (Anthracnose) higher relationship of varietal diversity with reduced damage Number of varieties grown per household
  7. 7. Common bean and severity of bean fly damage (Uganda) Ssekandi, W et al. Journal of Pest Science. 2015 Traditional variety Commercial variety
  8. 8. Dissecting the mixture: %Resistance; % Susceptible; rows vs random Ssekandi, W et al., Journal of Pest Science. 2015 Random mixture 25%R 75%S 50%R 50%S 75%R 25%S 25%R 75%S 50%R 50%S 75%R 25%S 25%R 50%R 75%R 25%R 50%R 75%R Alternate-row mixture
  9. 9. Key elements of healthy production system Farmers need access to good quality diverse seeds at the right time and in sufficient quantity. Formal release of improved traditional cowpea Good quality seed can be produced by improving traditional pulse varieties through both conventional breeding and participatory crop improvement.  Seed production o Farmers and scientists assess crop genetic diversity (local and/or improved varieties) o They monitor the crop cycle through weekly meetings at the experimental site o At the end of the cycle, varieties with desired traits are selected, multiplied and disseminated within and outside the group Diversity Field Fora
  10. 10. o Improve access to rare germplasm o create public awareness on the value of local crop diversity o locate prime areas of diversity and identify rare and unique varieties o promote exchange of community based seed and knowledge Diversity Fairs  Seed flow and seed access Diversifying seed sources (e.g. community seed banks supplying traditional varieties, private suppliers providing commercial varieties) Key elements of healthy production system Farmers need access to good quality diverse seeds at the right time and in sufficient quantity.
  11. 11. Thank you www.bioversityinternational.org/subscribe @BioversityInt Paola De Santis p.desantis@cgiar.org

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