I first started writing a blog for the BSPP back in 2007. After three years and over 100 entries I called it a day. The first entry in March 2007 had a photo of don Santiago, a dairy farmer in the Altiplano of Bolivia. The same blog also talked about an unusual phytoplasma on potatoes in Bolivia. From there I weaved in and out of Latin America, Africa and Asia, writing about the Global Plant Clinic, diseases that I came across and other things that caught my eye, including personal interests.
One blog included a photograph of an LP cover featuring George Barnes and Carl Kress. Clearly their wonderful talents as jazz guitarists were not enough to sell records, hence their appearance in tennis shorts, grasping a trophy and ogling a blonde wearing a bikini top. But mainly I wrote about plant diseases, exploring major as well as less important, but still intriguing examples, and how research and advisory services responded to the need for better knowledge and smarter responses.
I think there’s as big an appetite now for widening our horizons, looking beyond the fascination of laboratory science at real life events where plant diseases – and more generally, plant health – affect all of us. Fortunately the BSPP agrees with me and so here we go again. I’ll be reflecting on things I’ve seen and read, people I’ve met and revisiting some of the diseases mentioned in the original blogs.
What has happened to banana wilt disease? Why should you be interested in Verticillium wilt on cocoa? Has Fusarium yellows on sugar beet got as far as Central Asia? Why is it so extraordinarily difficult to find lists of crop pests and diseases known to occur in a country? Will LAMP light up rapid diagnostics? What is the Plant Health Professional Register? Do we over-use the phrase ‘food security’? These are some of the topics that I’ll be thinking and writing about.
I hope others will join me in sharing thoughts, so please comment on what you read. Or offer to write a blog yourself. Ready? Here we go …