|Lizz Johnson and Michael Lett holding the MoU that outlines how the Ministry of Agriculture and CABI will work together to bring Plant health system to Grenada and provide information to the Plantwise Knowledge Bank.|
Plant clinics are now a reality in Grenada. Phil Taylor and Lizz Johnson recently travelled to Grenada to give Module 2 of the Plantwise “How to be a Plant doctor” training and additional exercises in data management. The week-long course involved a brief recap of what was learned in Module 1 (symptom recognition and description) and then moved onto how to make recommendations in response to farmers’ pest and disease problems. CABI courses encourage non-chemical control of pests and diseases but also acknowledges the importance of chemical inputs in food production. Module 2 studies cultural control measures as well as the use and the modes of action of various chemicals so that they can be used judiciously and minimise the likelihood of resistance. The course involves a visit to local agro-chemical suppliers in the area to alert them of the Plantwise initiative and to begin dialogue with them and to incorporate them into a true plant health system. In each case the trainees were well received and the dealers were keen to learn more and become involved in the initiative.
In the data management aspect of the course, trainees learned of the importance of describing the symptoms accurately so that the data from the clinics can be incorporated into the CABI Knowledge Bank. Without an accurate description of the sample at the plant clinic it is impossible to validate the record and potential data will be lost. Scanners were distributed so that the clinic data sheets can be scanned and then validated in-country before being accepted by CABI. As Grenada is a small island the validation should be relatively easy as the plant doctors and validators are a small team all of whom work together and who have regular contact.
On the final day of the training the Honourable Michael Lett the Minister of Agriculture handed out the certificates to the newly graduated Plant doctors and was able to sign the Memorandum of Understanding between CABI and the Ministry describing how the two will work together in the coming years. Grenada is the first of the three Caribbean countries (Grenada, Barbados and Trinidad &Tobago) to sign an MoU with CABI.