Cambodian vegetable growers in western Sydney, Australia are a committed group of growers, producing food for their families and local markets. As with many new migrant market gardeners, they have helped each other set up their farms, are located in a small area, and are mostly growing similar crops: cherry tomatoes, chillies, capsicums and eggplants, as well as snow peas.
|Cherry tomatoes (Photo: S. McDougall)|
When we started working with the Cambodian Growers Association in Sydney, they told us a bilingual field guide for tomatoes would be the most helpful resource we could provide. They wanted information on basic crop production, as well as a guide to identifying and managing problems caused by insects, diseases or other disorders. They preferred printed fact sheets over multimedia or internet resources, which surprised us a little!
|The Cambodian Growers Association executive (above) were consulted to |
see what they needed most (Photo: S. MacDougall)
|Education is a strong focus of this project - here a|
Cambodian farmer shows a tomato ripening chart
(Photo: S. Newman)
Once we started putting the list of organisms together, it became clear that there was a lot of overlap. It turns out that growers here and in Cambodia face many of the same challenges. Three years down the road, the guide has now been published in English, and it will soon be translated into Khmer. I'm really pleased with how it has turned out.
The guide is full of colourful photos to help growers identify what is wrong with their plants, and advice on how to fix the problems. It illustrates insects that are pests that need controlling, and others that are actually beneficial to the plants. It includes a handy colour-coded sidebar to help navigate through all the information.
It should be really useful to a lot of vegetable growers, helping them identify and manage key insect pests and diseases and other disorders.
I am now working in the Philippines, where these same crops are extremely important, so I know it will be very helpful there. The project team are assessing whether we need to include a couple of other diseases, and we plan to translate the information into Visayan and probably Tagalog as well. Our collaborators in the World Vegetable Center (AVRDC) have mentioned it will also be useful for their work in Africa.
By Dr Sandra McDougall, NSW Department of Primary Industries
Leader of the Australian research component and guide co-author
Tomato, capsicum, chilli and eggplant. A field guide for the identification of insect pests,beneficials, diseases and disorders in Australia and Cambodia
HORT/2006/107 Strengthening the Cambodian and Australian vegetable industries through adoption of improved production and postharvest practices
The project is led by NSW Department of Primary Industries. Project partners are:
Charles Sturt University, Australia
The World Vegetable Center, Taiwan
Cambodia Agricultural Research and Development Institute, Cambodia
General Directorate of Agriculture, Cambodia
Royal University of Agriculture, Cambodia
Applied Horticultural Research, Australia
Previous project HORT/2003/045 final report Improvement of vegetable production and postharvest practices in Cambodia and Australia
Related project with AVRDC in Africa: Improving income and nutrition in eastern and southern Africa by enhancing vegetable-based farming and food systems in peri-urban corridors