The National Plant Protection Centre organized a week-long training on disease forecasting and modeling from 16th to 20th December 2019 which was graced by officiating Director, Department of Agriculture. The training was funded by FAO Bhutan through Asia-pacific Regional Programme on Agrometerological Services, Pest and Disease Alert and Early Warning Systems for Farmers. Participants of the training included the Plant Protection officials from NPPC, regionals Plant Protection focal officials (Bajo, Samtenling & wengkhar) and also agroment focal officials from DoA.
The resource persons for the training were experts hired by FAO as consultant from South Korea. They are Dr. Kwang-Hyung Kim who serves as Research Fellow under climate service and research division with APCC (APEC Climate Centre) in South Korea, Dr. Junhyun Jeon who is plant pathologist by profession and currently serves at Assistant Professor at Yeungnam University in South Korea and Dr. Sook-Young Park who is also Plant Pathologist and currently serves as Assistant Professor at Department of Plant Medicine, Sunchon National University.
In a week-long training the participants were taught about the biology and principles of disease epidemiology of apple scab, rice blast and potato late blight including identification and symptomatic disease diagnosis. The participants were also taught about different data collection methods, utilization of agromet data and its role in disease forecasting. Finally the participants were introduced to R program as tool for modeling disease forecasting system, different modules of disease forecasting system, report generation and utilization of disease forecast information. The participants were thoroughly trained through presentation, group works/discussion and hands-on training.
The week-long training is aimed at enhancing knowledge and building capacity of participants in disease forecasting. Through this training the participants are expected to establish a disease forecasting system in Bhutan, at least on one of the diseases. The training would also help NPPC in better utilization/operation of automated weather station (AWS fitted with wireless leaf & soil moisture/temperature station and leaf wetness sensors) which the centre already procured with financial support from FAO.
Lastly, the NPPC would like to sincerely acknowledge FAO Bhutan, resourceful experts and participants for a successful training.