327: Robert Reeder on Protecting Banana Crops.

Paying attention to the pests and diseases that affect crops.

Robert is a plant pathologist working with the Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International (CABI), based in the United Kingdom. His areas of interests are in international development and the management of pests and diseases of tropical crops. Having worked for CABI for nearly 25 years, he’s gained extensive experience in diagnosing pests and diseases of a diverse range of tropical crops. As part of his work he has traveled to many countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

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His current focus in the Plantwise Programme which aims to help farmers lose less of what they grow to plant-health problems. Plantwise operates in 34 countries and works closely with national agricultural advisory services to establish and support a sustainable network of plant clinics.

In This Podcast:

Science and the study of the biology of plants is a true calling for Robert Reeder, as he has been part of different projects at CABI for several decades; and his focus on the Plantwise Programme is something that is making a difference. He shares with us how the Programme is helping farmers in developing countries diagnose and tackle different crop issues, as well as their work to help counter the spread of soil born diseases that are affecting banana crops around the world.

Listen in and learn about:

  • Looking for work after getting his education, and finding CABI
  • How he got interested in tropical crops
  • More about the Plantwise Programme and what they are trying to do (EPIC Call out!)
  • How third world farmers can get help with their crop issues at Plant Clinics
  • Why bananas are so threatened at this time
  • The root fungus that has moved across the world and is on its way to South American
  • Produce security and the challenges of keeping pests and diseases from spreading
  • How countries can work together to help with bio security
  • The Cavendish Banana and why we may have to start eating a different variety
  • How we can help slow the spread of the plant diseases
  • The invasive plants and pest project with CABI
  • Integrated Pest Management and how the CABI includes this in their programs

As well as:

  • His failure – The time he tried to grow a crop and the mice avoided all his deterrents to get to the seedlings
  • His success – The Plantwise Program and the difference it is making in developing countries
  • His drive – The discovery aspect of science and the application of science where people can use it practically
  • His advice – Keep trying, keep persevering!

Robert’s Book recommendations:           

Plant Pathology by George Agrios

How to reach Robert:         

Website: www.plantwise.org and www.cabi.org


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