Photo: my host family in Province Orientale, Northern DRC

My adoptive family in Northern DRC during a training

When I went to Province Orientale in Northern DRC, near the Sudanese border, I stayed in a very remote village that took about 12 hours to get to on a small motorbike. I was a bit apprehensive because I was not sure what I was going to find there once we arrived. My hut was clean and well looked after, and one of the families in the village looked after me. They gave me food and washed my clothes. There were adorable and I hope this picture does them justice. I think about them every now and again, and hope they are doing well. Hopefully I will see them soon! That area of DRC has a lot of problems with Cassava Mosaic virus and Banana bacterial wilt. however they have an amazing quantity of food due to the tropical conditions in the region. It rains 10 months of the year and avocado the size of watermelons grow everywhere, they feed peanuts (usually a cash crop) to the pigs and the chickens are very tasty (which I find unusual in East Africa)

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Photo: Plant Health rallies in DR Congo

At CABI, we have an initiative called plant health rallies, where we interview farmers on a particular disease in the area. This can be banana bacterial wilt, cocoa black pod, Cassava mosaic virus... The big problems are the ones that not only affect farmer's crops constantly, but also their wallets. Plant health rallies are an organised extension initiative that aims at collecting information on the extent of the disease, as well as giving the farmers interviewed valuable information on  disease control and management. It is a hard day's work, as I would normally interview 200 farmers in 4 or 5 villages, and pass on information, as well as giving speeches to draw the crowd in! It is all worthwhile though, as the information we give them will hopefully aid their crop obtain better yields!

At CABI, we have an initiative called plant health rallies. this involves riding out to rural areas and interviewing farmers on a particular disease in the area, and giving them practical, economic and safe solutions for fighting the disease. This can be banana bacterial wilt, cocoa black pod disease, Cassava mosaic virus… These ┬áproblems affect their crops, but also their wallets. Plant Health Rallies are an organised extension initiative that aims at collecting information on the extent of the disease for future development of control techniques, as well as giving the farmers interviewed valuable information on disease control and management. It is a hard day’s work, as I would normally interview 200 farmers in 4 or 5 villages, and explain how to control the problem, as well as giving speeches on a chair in a random market to draw the crowd in! It is all worthwhile though, as the information we give them will hopefully aid their crop obtain better yields! I do get some people who look at me strangely. Photo: Dr Eric Boa

Photo: A ladylike pose in the Congo

This beautiful lady was completely engrossed in the conversation she was having with a plant doctor about her crops problems. The pose she struck was so naturally ladylike that I had to take her picture. It turns out the problem on her cocoa crop was very simple to get rid of. She left a very happy plant clinic client! North Kivu will have a bit more cocoa to sell in the future, thanks to the tremendous work of plant doctors (www.plantwise.org) !

This beautiful lady was completely engrossed in the conversation she was having with a plant doctor about her crops problems. The pose she struck was so naturally ladylike that I had to take her picture. It turns out the problem on her cocoa crop was very simple to get rid of. She left a very happy plant clinic client! North Kivu will have a bit more cocoa to sell in the future, thanks to the tremendous work of plant doctors (www.plantwise.org) !