Plant Health


The Pacific’s fragile ecosystem is constantly at risk from invasive species, pests and diseases. It is therefore vital that sustainable and appropriate management practices are developed and utilized to ensure   sustained productive use of the land. Plant Health aims to promote these practices by utilizing its three main units, entomology, pathology and weeds in undertaking regular surveys of pests and diseases, providing information, creating awareness among farmers,  updating information databases and assisting in eradication activities. 
 

Monitoring records rapid rust spread and death rate in Mile-a-minute
Wednesday, 15 September 2010 14:40

rust at verata site

Monitoring at various release sites have shown successful establishment of the biocontrol agent, Puccinia spegazzinii for the control of the mile-a-minute weed (Mikania micrantha). The records showing the number of infected plants and the plant death rate suggest the impact of the rust on Mikania. The spores are easily being transported by wind, birds, animals and humans and the rust is also found to be spreading from its original release site.

Releases have also been made in the three provinces of Vanua Levu with the assistance of Fiji extension and research officers who were informed of the biocontrol programme and have been familiarised with the bioagent and its life cycle. The officers have been requested to follow up with monitoring at the sites and to report on the rust's development. Infections  have been recorded at sites visited and the rest have yet to be confirmed. Further monitoring will have to be done to follow up on the assessment of the rust’s impact on Mikania in these sites.

Comparative growth experiments have also shown that infected plants with a lot of pustules tend to die faster than those with less pustules.

Monitoring at various release sites have shown successful establishment of the biocontrol agent, Puccinia spegazzinii on the control of the mile-a-minute weed (Mikania micrantha). The records


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Effective management can help maintain productivity of land resources,stregthen food security, safeguard the environment and increase revenue. Plant Health strives to improve awareness on environmental implications of agricultural practices and offering safer environmentally friendly options.