Pest and disease training kit under development
Monday, 02 July 2018 10:20

Pacific Biosecurity has been contracted to develop a permanent Coconut Pests and Diseases Toolkit, using a content management system. This toolkit will provide a set of detailed step-by-step resources to enable smallholders to implement and undertake effective prevention and management of selected pests and diseases that affect coconuts.

The project will target all the pests and diseases of coconut described in PestNet, supplemented by additional pests and diseases identified by PlantVillage and other sources.

The highest priority pests and diseases will be covered first, and lower priority pests and diseases will be covered as time and resources of the contract allow but, at the very least, all pests and diseases will have links to the appropriate PestNet information. These priorities might change with input from experts and as more is learned about the prevalent pests and diseases.

It was agreed that pest and disease outbreaks should be included as a relatively high priority; the outbreaks are often due to changing environmental conditions, such as cyclones, and, with weather becoming more variable, outbreaks are likely to be more frequent.

The toolkit will incorporate a workshop training package that guides trainees through the use of the toolkit. This is ideal in a train-the-trainer situation. Once the toolkit resources are finalised, a toolkit train-the-trainers workshop will be conducted by CIPD for in-country trainers in the Pacific region.

Smallholders, farmers groups and small entities involved in coconut production and processing are the ultimate target groups of the training, which will be delivered by the in-country trainers CIDP will train.  Ensuring the depth of information is appropriate for stakeholders (e.g. smallholders) is a key issue in the toolkit development. Often, additional background biological knowledge is required for stakeholders to understand issues such as how the life-cycle of the pest affects pest management approaches, and as much of this information as possible will be included. There is an assumption, however, that this information needs to be supplemented by the in-country trainers’ own expertise. Promotion of ownership among the stakeholders (trainers, smallholders, village councils, community groups such as women’s groups) is a key component of ensuring successful promulgation of CIDP goals and the in-country trainers will have a key role in this.

Dates for the train-the-trainers programme will be announced in due course.