This project aimed to improve the capacity of Lao and Cambodian crop protection and plant quarantine staff in plant disease diagnosis and plant biosecurity.
Biosecurity and plant protection systems in Cambodia and Lao PDR cannot effectively identify and diagnose pest interceptions or monitor pests in local crops. This is largely due to a lack of local expertise, information and physical resources at the operational level, and the absence of organisational processes and communication networks essential to the diagnostic process.
The program trained staff in general diagnosis, improved diagnostic capacity to plant protection agencies and documented horticulturally significant plant viruses for the first time. Australian and Thai experts worked together to deliver a training program consistent with these goals. The project involved staff in taxonomic training and surveillance exercises; they conducted diagnostic processes and procedures, repeated them in different contexts and thereby reinforced them. They surveyed plant viruses affecting major horticultural crops. Although plant viruses are widespread and damage the region's economy, few have been identified and recorded in pest lists.