The IPM Innovation Lab conducted a three-day workshop on “Diagnosis and Management of Plant Virus Diseases” at the Plant Pathology Division of the Royal University of Agriculture (RUA) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia from August 10-12, 2016. The main objective of this workshop was to provide training on plant virus disease diagnosis and management. This workshop was jointly organized by the IPM Innovation Lab and iDE Cambodia. The workshop is part of a long-term strategy of building the scientific capacity of plant pathologists, extension personnel, and NGO staff in Cambodia to mitigate crop losses due to viral diseases in vegetable crops in subsistence agriculture.
The 16 workshop participants included students and faculty from RUA, the University of Battambang, research and extension personnel from the Plant Protection department at the General Directorate of Agriculture of the Royal Government of Cambodia, and farm advisors from NGOs (viz. iDE, GRET, SNV and GIZ-ASEAN).
Dr. Amer Fayad, Associate Director of the IPM Innovation lab, and Dr. Naidu Rayapati an Associate Professor in Plant Pathology at Washington State University, designed and delivered an interactive participatory workshop with field visits, lectures, and lab work. Topics covered basic virus characteristics, epidemiology, and management. Dr. Kim Hian Seng, the IPM-IL Project Coordinator at iDE-Cambodia facilitated the workshop. Special lectures and laboratory sessions addressed the various dimensions involved in the detection of plant viruses and the capacity to conduct these techniques at RUA. A lot of focus was put on plant virus diseases, especially those of importance to Cambodia and South and Southeast Asia, and the practical aspects of their management.
One aspect of the workshop that was especially important was the hands-on experience in identifying virus symptoms in the field, collecting samples for disease identification, and conducting serological techniques, such as ELISA and immunostrips, for virus detection. One participant said, “The best part of the workshop was practicing with the experiment and visiting the field to use what we learned in the field.”
This showed that, even with limited resources and facilities, such diagnostic assays can be done successfully to achieve intended results and impacts at RUA.
This workshop highlights the exemplary partnership between the IPM Innovation Lab, RUA, and NGOs like iDE to train the next generation of agricultural scientists and extension personnel for overall capacity building in Cambodia.
“I plan to conduct dissemination training in upcoming months and develop training materials based on the training today,” said another participant.