Plant clinics have taken off in Sierra Leone and are a permanent feature of the extension landscape backed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security. However they are trying to extend the numbers of plant clinics so as to make them more accessible to farmers and to this end, CABI with funding from COOPI (an Italian NGO) has recently trained 15 plant doctors and 15 plant nurses enough for one plant clinic for each chiefdom within Kono district.
Kono district is the heart of the Sierra Leone diamond mining area but despite the potential riches underground the population remains extremely poor. Phil Taylor and Wade Jenner went to Kono to train new clinic staff from 30 May – 14 April. Module one of ‘How to be a Plant Doctor’ was taught over 5 days and COOPI provided all the plant clinics with a camera as well as tables and chairs, umbrella for shade and advertising banner and megaphone. In addition each trainee was given a bicycle so as to improve their mobility and enable them to reach more remote regions.
It is intended that Modules 2 and 3 are to be taught in the coming months to further increase the help they can offer farmers.
Along with Uganda and Kenya the Sierra Leone Plant Clinics are participating in the trial of electronic data retrieval whereby the record sheets are scanned and emailed to CABI prior to being read by computer software and the data installed in a spread sheet.