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Home>FFTC Document Database>Newsletters>NEWSLETTER 203: Understanding bio-fertilizers and bio-pesticides>FFTC gears up for its first workshop on soilborne disease control
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On May 6-10, soil scientists and plant pathologists in the Asian and Pacific region will gather for the international workshop on “Enabling Capacity in Production and Application of Bio-pesticides and Bio-fertilizers for Soil-borne Disease Control and Organic Farming.” The workshop, which will be held in Hanoi, Vietnam, is a joint effort of FFTC and the Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences (VAAS) and the first major activity of FFTC for this year.

Combatting soil-borne diseases

Timely as it is, the workshop came into fruition because of the need of the agriculture community to focus on inexpensive and environmentally friendly methods of combatting soil borne diseases. As everyone knows, soil-borne diseases are one of the major factors that contribute to low yields of agricultural products. Similarly, farmers are finding it more difficult to control these soil-borne diseases using conventional methods like planting resisting cultivars and spraying more synthetic pesticides. Both methods could be expensive and the latter even has great implications on human health, the ecosystem and ground water. It is therefore urgent that environmentally friendly methods on improving soil fertility, pests and disease control are used. Bio-fertilizers are considered as important alternative sources of plant nutrition. Bio-fertilizers and bio-pesticides have emerged as a potential environmentally friendly inputs that are supplemented for proper plant growth. They hold vast potential in meeting plant nutrient requirements while minimizing the use of chemical fertilizers.

Use of bio-agents

Now that organic farming is starting to gain popularity worldwide, it is also becoming a major tool for sustaining the quality of degraded soils. The use of bio-agents, such as bio-fertilizers and bio-pesticides has become an integral part of organic farming, especially in vegetable cultivation. The nature of the organic amendments, the microorganisms present, the soil properties and environmental conditions are key factors that can influence the populations of soil-borne plant pathogens and the crop to be protected. Using organic amendments, antagonistic microorganisms and phyto-chemicals in controlling soil-borne root-infecting fungi offers an alternative strategy to the prevalent use of synthetic pesticides.

Updates on soil-borne diseases

The workshop basically aims to review the current status and updates of soil-borne diseases problems and management/control strategies of soil-borne diseases in the Asian Pacific countries for organic farming. It also hopes to explore promising sources of microorganism and common organic material and its potential and demand of utilization and adoption and share the potential innovative technologies which can be adopted for soil-borne disease control and organic farming.

The two-day workshop is divided into three themes: 1) Problems on soil-borne diseases and their management control strategies; 2) the production potential and utilization demand of bio-pesticides and bio-fertilizers for soil-borne disease control and 3) innovative technologies and/or bio-products for soil-borne disease management/control and organic farming. In between, there will be country presentations on the status and updates of soil- borne diseases from speakers coming from Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Korea, Thailand and Taiwan. 

Other topics which will be tackled by the speakers include emerging trends in biocontrol of soil pests and diseases concept and capacity building, soil microbiology and its interaction with plant health in agro-ecological systems, potential of biological products on the organic approach to control the dominant soil-borne plant pathogens, promising sources of microorganisms for production of bio-fertilizers, among others.

Meanwhile, the third day of the workshop will be devoted to organic farm visits and interaction with Vietnamese cooperative officials at the Thanh Xuan Commune in Hanoi city.

Aside from the technical discussions, the international workshop will also have a signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between FFTC and VAAS. For several years now, the two organizations have partnered in several projects which aim to collect and disseminate information on agricultural technologies all over the Asian Pacific region. The MOU signing, therefore, will further renew and strengthen the ties between the two organizations.

For further information please contact:
Ms. Jennifer Lii
Tel : +886-2-2362-6239 #14 
E-mail : Jennifer@fftc.org.tw

A Thai farmer harvests eggplant at the Sampran organic farm in Nakhon, Pathon, Thailand. Here, bio-fertilizers and bio-pesticides are used and are found to be effective and safe alternative to chemical ones. They are cheap, easy-to-use, and most of them do not require repeated application.

The word cloud poster design features major keywords that are related to the various topics of the upcoming FFTC workshop in May. This joint FFTC-VAAS workshop basically aims to review the current status and updates of soil-borne diseases problems and management/control strategies of soil-borne diseases in the Asian Pacific countries.