This is the report from a BSPP MSc/MRes Bursary.
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6th – 8th December 2021
The BSPP 2021 conference was very insightful and informative. We were provided with the state-of the art tools used in monitoring and preventing the introduction of alien pest and diseases into the UK, in-depth information on common pathogens encountered in the UK and novel discoveries in managing these diseases.
I attended all sessions, and I am grateful I made that decision because all sessions were properly organised and rich. The first day started off on a good note, it commenced with talks on emerging challenges with plant health. The speakers shared with us the fast movement of fungal pathogens across the globe which calls for swift actions, policies in the UK to curb introduction of alien pathogens, how to respond to disease threats and the importance of early pathogen detection.
I gave an oral presentation on ‘Identification of causative pathogen responsible for foliar and pod diseases of African Yam Bean (Sphenosylis Stenocarpa) in Nigeria’. I was opportune to introduce my crop (which most people in the room were not aware of). It was a great experience as I had to share and summarise the outcomes of my research with large audience in 10 minutes.
The sixth session (raising wider awareness of plant health) which was chaired by Gerald Clover was the most interesting for me. I found this session interesting because we were provided with information on how to reach out to the public as plant pathologists. The importance of close relationship between the town (public) and the gown (scientists).
Ralf Lopian challenges plant pathologists as he talked about communication and awareness raising of plant health. Ralf talked about using the social media to communicate the importance of plant health, he shared several instances where people who are not aware shared wrong information about science then he challenged us as plant pathologists to use the social media to our advantage.
Josephine Rodgers exposed us to the world of access agriculture. Josephine talked about how research outcomes are translated in different languages for farmers to be able to access the information. Access agriculture which is a non-profit organisation showcases videos in local languages with the aim of impacting rural lives. They have been able to reach about 90 million farmers through media.
Finally, Jassy Drakulic who represented the Royal Horticultural Society, gave a beautiful presentation on reaching out to the public through gardening. Jassy discussed about different strategies used to create awareness about plant health which has been successful. RHS is a leading charity garden in the UK. The society aims to beautify the environment and improve livelihood through plants. They engage in various activities that promote and benefit gardening. Activities such as shows, education, community, media, and shopping opportunities. They strategically use these activities to create awareness about plant health.
The Day’s sessions ended with a conference dinner where we had different British delicacies and the winners of the PH Gregory and J Colhoun competition was announced. Finally, I will love to extend my gratitude to the BSPP for the support to attend the BSPP 2021 conference and I give Kudos to the organising committee for a well-planned and juicy event.
University of Greenwich/Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta, Ogun state Nigeria