Plantwise Bangladesh in a new era of partnership: National Extension Officers trained as Plant Doctors

Newly trained plant doctors in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Newly trained plant doctors in Dhaka, Bangladesh © CABI

The Plantwise programme in Bangladesh was launched with the training for module 1 (Field Diagnosis and Plant Clinic Operation) and module 2 (Introduction to Plant Healthcare) for 32 extension officers in Dhaka early this March. The training followed the signing of a tripartite agreement between the Economic relation division, Ministry of Agriculture and CABI on the 20th January this year. This was followed by signing of a work and funding contract that marked initiation of activities with the national partner to implement the program in the country.  Though Plantwise was being implemented by a few NGOs in Bangladesh from 2011, the partnership with Department of Agricultural Extension has opened a new era for the program which has a strong possibility of driving the program to sustainability in the nation. Ten Upojillas (unions) have been selected to conduct ten regular plant clinics in five districts of the country. Dr. Steve Edgington was the CABI trainer who meticulously and consistently captured the attention of 32 trainees as they understood how the symptoms can be easily recognised at field level. The clinic concept is quite new to the country and, although the Farmers Information and Advice Centre is already established by the World Bank as advisory centres to farmers, many farmers could get additional synergies with PW operations as suggested by some newly trained Plantwise doctors.

It was very encouraging to see the complete and punctual attendance of the trainees for all the four days. Their rapt attention during the presentations and active participation in the field as well as in class room exercises was noticeable. Prior to the training the workshop opening session was presided by the Director-General DAE, Director PPW and other eminent staff of the department. This event was captured by the national television media and broadcasted in prime hour throughout the nation.  Click this link to see a clip of the television coverage: https://www.dropbox.com/l/sGSepN8iCMnEbAcx1b5khr

Though the women constituted around only 20% of the participating trainees, their enthusiasm and passion to execute the clinics was evident.  The commitment of these officers to support farmers to guide them with timely diagnosis in order to reduce the use of pesticide was appreciable. This was also evident by their earlier efforts to bring out certain tools in this focal area. The newly trained plant doctors proudly wore their badges at the end of the training while receiving their certificates. They are now looking forward to April when they will witness a model clinic first-hand. Later in April the plant doctors plan to conduct the first plant clinics in their respective unions and start to provide their farming communities with practical advice in plant health.

Perú: Una visita al campo con los Doctores de Plantas en Huamanga-Ayacucho

Texto escribido por los doctores de planta de la Estación Experimental Agraria Canaán (INIA): Victoriano Eduardo Núñez Cuba, Melancio Huamani García y Aníbal N. Huarancca, y editando por Léna Durocher-Granger (CABI-UK).

English summary follows

Melancio explica a la agricultora sobre el diagnóstico y el control de la enfermedad del Peronospora farinosa (Fr) “Mildiu” que ataca al cultivo de Quinua.

Melancio explica a la agricultora sobre el diagnóstico y el control de la enfermedad del Peronospora farinosa (Fr) “Mildiu” que ataca al cultivo de Quinua.

El Instituto Nacional de Innovación Agraria (INIA), organismo público adscrito al Ministerio de Agricultura y Riego, a través de la Estación Experimental Agraria (EEA) Canaán-Ayacucho, brinda Asistencia Técnica de Capacitación con el Modulo de Clínica de Plantas a los pequeños productores agrarios de la Comunidad “La Colpa”, del distrito de ACOS VINCHOS y de la Comunidad “Moya”, del distrito de QUINUA, provincia de Huamanga – Ayacucho.

Victoriano Eduardo Núñez Cuba, Melancio Huamani García y Aníbal N. Huarancca son tres Doctores de Plantas de la EEA Canaán. Parte del trabajo de un Doctor de Planta es de visitar a los pequeños agricultores y agricultoras en su finca para proporcionar información sobre el diagnóstico, agente causal, tratamiento, control, prevención e importancia económica del ataque de plagas y enfermedades en los cultivos alimenticios, además de brindar Charla Técnica de Capacitación a los pequeños productores agrarios. El objetivo es brindarlos asistencia técnica oportunamente para el incremento de la producción y el mejoramiento del ingreso económico familiar.

Victoriano, Melancio y Aníbal tienen roles fundamentales en Plantwise que impactan directamente a la seguridad alimentaria y nutricional de los pequeños agricultores y sus familias, además de contribuir a mejorar el sistema fitosanitario del país.

Sigamos Victoriano, Melancio y Aníbal a través de unas de las actividades a cargo de la Unidad de Extensión Agraria (UEA) de la EEA Canaán (INIA), desarrolladas junto a los Coordinadores Nacionales Luis Torres (EEA-La Molina) y Luis Navarrete (EEA-La Molina) y al Programa Plantwise.

Victoriano Eduardo Núñez Cuba, Melancio Huamani García and Aníbal N. Huarancca are three Plant Doctors from the Experimental Station Canaán (INIA) in Ayacucho-Peru. Part of a Plant Doctor’s work is to visit farmers to provide information related to the diagnosis, prevention, control, management and economic importance of the pests and diseases affecting various crops in the region. The Plant Doctors also provide technical training to farmers. The objective is to support smallholder farmers by providing appropriate technical assistance aimed at increasing crop yields and improving family income. By improving the plant health system in their country, Victoriano, Melancio and Aníbal play a key role in Plantwise that directly impacts food security and nutrition of smallholder farmers and their families. Let’s follow them for a day!

 

 

Plantwise Data Management Training in Mozambique

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Since its launch early this year, the partnership between the Plantwise Initiative and the Ministry of Agriculture in Mozambique (MINAG) continues to grow. The National Directorate of Agrarian Services (DNSA) that falls under MINAG is the Plantwise implementing institution in Mozambique. There are currently 5 plant clinics established and running in Maputo and Manica provinces. Read more of this post

Looking back on 2013: Plantwise brainstorm

2013 Plantwise knowledge bank infographic

©CABI

Last year, 2013, was a productive year for Plantwise. There were over 120,000 visits to the online knowledge bank, with over 250,000 page views. This is great news because there were over 15,000 views per month, with people exploring distribution maps, browsing the image-led diagnostic tool, and looking at factsheets on treatment of pests and diseases. Of the views, about a quarter were from PW countries, where use has doubled since the same time in 2012.

We’re excited to share that at the end of last year, there were more than 7,500 factsheets publicly available on the knowledge bank, with 550 Factsheets for Farmers, 100 Pest Management Decision Guides, 3,400 Technical Factsheets and links to 3,500 External factsheets. The Technical Factsheets included 2,500 pests that affect over 4,000 different agriculturally significant hosts.

Mobile is progressing well, with over 450 Factsheets for Farmers having been repurposed and available via tablet or smartphone. This means that plant doctors on the e-clinics pilot initiative have access to factsheet information in real-time as they fill out prescription forms, making diagnoses and recommendations more accurate. Using mobile technology also increases the number of people that Plantwise reaches, especially since the app works with intermittent internet, and can be viewed offline.

The Pest Alert service had 545 sign-ups from 200 countries, including 169 contacts from the National Plant Protection Organizations.

As of the end of December 2013, plant clinics were regularly collecting data in 14 countries, with over 18,000 records of visits by farmers. Local and national engagement continues to increase in 2014, with the current numbers in July being over 50 000 records collected from 23 countries.

It’s been a busy first half of 2014, and we’re already making good progress on figures for this year. Check out the knowledge bank site to see the content we’ve added recently!

 

Yours in losing less and feeding more,

The Plantwise knowledge bank

 

A plant doctor’s fight against rice blast in Tamil Nadu, India

Story by Malvika Chaudhary, CABI in India

Photo: Saurav Paul

DSC_4249Vargur is a small village in the Tamil Nadu state of India where paddy is grown on a large scale. The plant clinics in this region are very popular with farmers. For plant doctor Sarangpani it was a usual day, anticipating the regular crowd of paddy farmers in his plant clinic. He enjoyed this interaction with them, especially after improving his pest diagnostic and advisory skills through training provided by Plantwise and research non-profit M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF).  His rich experience as a farmer in the past had now translated into service for his community through these regular plant clinics.

Though ‘samba,’ or long grain rice season was usually quiet, this time Balchander and many farmers like him had a different story. The farmers had been seeing white spots on the young leaves of their paddy plant, which began to turn to grey-green in couple of days, bringing them increasing worry. It was time for plant doctors like Sarangpani to take immediate action to try and help Balchander and his neighboring paddy farmers.

Read more of this post

Plantwise captures the imagination of the Afghan Agricultural hierarchy through its National Forum

Group Photo NFM

Representatives at Afghanistan’s National Forum

Since 2012, the Plantwise Afghanistan team, including Muhammad Faheem as Country Coordinator, Dr Babar Ehsan Bajwa as Regional Director for CABI Central and West Asia and Julien Lamontagne-Godwin as European Support Staff from the CABI UK centre, has been increasingly involved in the agricultural development of the country. As the programme has gone from strength to strength, it has not only grown its clinic network, but also engaged regularly with the various stakeholders involved in the country’s agricultural system.

The National Forum is one of the many stakeholder engagement tools at the programme’s disposal, and it was used to full effect in March 2014. Read more of this post

A day at the plant clinic in Pucara, Peru

A day at the plant clinic in Pucara, Peru

 

Did you guess Peru in our ‘Guess the clinic‘ challenge? Well you were  correct.

On the morning of April 22nd , plant doctor and clinic coordinator Flavia Felix Huanca (pictured here) held a plant clinic for local farmers. They brought in samples of their crops which various problems, asking for her advice to diagnose what was wrong. This plant clinic, supported by training from Plantwise and the global Plantwise knowledge bank, runs every other Tuesday at a regular local fair. This is the EEA Plant Clinic of Santa Ana -Huancayo, in Municipalidad Distrital de Pucara.

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