21-27 April, 2015: A week long training workshop on ePest surveillance system was conducted by the National Plant Protection Centre (NPPC) at Semtokha from 21-27 April, 2015. More than 42 participants from RNR Research Development Centres (RDCs), Geog Extension Centres, NPPC, National Organic Program and Mountain Hazelnut Venture Pvt. Ltd. attended the program. The main objective of the training program was to build the capacity of the extension and research officers to carry out pest surveillance activities more efficiently through the use of the newly developed ePest Surveillance System.
The training contents included principles and practices of good pests surveillance system; its importance and application; types of surveillance; survey design and planning, and sampling techniques/methods. Hands-on-practice on operating and using ePest Android Apps to collect pest information from the field has been given due importance. The practical session on selection of sites, sampling techniques including the setup of pheromone traps were demonstrated in the NPPC research field and in farmers’ field at Paro and Punakha. During field visits, participants collected the real-time pest’s information from the field using the android gadgets. The analysed reports of the field data were presented to the participants on the following day and report was discussed with participants for relevance and accuracy.
In this ePest surveillance system, the information captured by the android gadget is fed to the central server that is programmed to store data and generate reports as and when required- the information stored in the server can be downloaded to android device and viewed at any time, anywhere. The android device on which the pest surveillance software (ePest Apps) is hosted is equipped with GPS which allows tracking the development of a specific pest(s) both in time (through the season; and also from year to year) and in space (over a geographical area). Such information will provide local specific pest information. The system is also designed to collect information related not only to pest organisms, but also data on associated natural enemies, weather parameters and altitude information. These additional information will be useful for future agriculture development activities in a specific location.
On the last day of the program, participants including those from RDCs developed surveillance strategies and plan to conduct survey in their respective Gewogs. Participants from RDCs and selected Gewogs will implement the first phase of the surveillance activities in areas that are agriculturally important and that have past or current pests problems. The selection of areas for surveillance will be done in consultation with PDs and DAOs of the respective RDCs and Dzongkhags.. On the last day of the training android devices were distributed to the participants along with manual and Terms of Reference (ToR) to imdplement surveillance activities in the pilot Gewogs.. The implementation of program will be regularly monitored by Program Directors of RDCs, District Agriculture Officers in Districts and as well as by the National Plant Protection Centre. The outcome of the activities will be assessed within two years period time from the date of implementation and develop report for further up scaling or improvements.
The Officiating Director General, DoA, graced the closing session of the program. A few samples of surveillance plan and strategies for the geogs were presented during the session. Participants were awarded certificate for attending the training-workshop by the chief guest.
-Reported by the National Plant Protection Centre, Semtokha
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