A pilot scheme of Plantwise clinics has started in China. Huanhuan Wan and Caroline Scotter-Mainprize report on the success of the first clinic session in Southwest China.
China’s first Plantwise plant clinic was successfully established in Rongjiang town, Xing’an county, Guangxi province, Southwest China on 19 May 2012. A great number of local farmers arrived with problem crop samples to consult the plant doctors; Han Chuyuan, a vineyard owner, travelled more than 40km with his samples of pest-damaged vines and grapes.
This clinic will be open weekly for farmers at a fixed site to provide timely and professional diagnostic services and integrated pest management recommendations. With financial support from the Ministry of Agriculture and the UK Department for International Development (DFID), staff in CABI’s China office have already helped to set up four plant clinics in China and will complete another five by the end of June, in collaboration with Institute of Plant Protect, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (IPP-CAAS), local partners from Xing’an Plant Protection Station (XAPPS) and Beijing Plant Protection Station (BPPS). 27 potential plant doctors received the plant doctor module 1 training from Rob Reeder (CABI UK), Wan Min and Liu Zhi (CABI China).
Peng Haomin, Head of XAPPS, strongly believes the plant clinics will reduce the misuse of chemical pesticides. He pointed out that for many farmers, agrochemicals dealers are their first and only source of advice on pest problems. Responding to the farmers’ sense of urgency the dealers will usually recommend fast-acting chemicals, some of which are highly toxic.
Gu Peiyun, a plant doctor in Yanqing district of Beijing, showed how Plantwise will encourage a more sustainable approach: “When I give a recommendation to a farmer, unlike the agrochemical dealers, I consider the environmentally friendly control methods, such as cultural control, biological control, and physical control, to have the highest priority.”
Great attention from different media was drawn to the launch of plant clinics in China. Six Chinese newspapers reported this event using headlines and more than 40 websites cited the news. More on this story from the Chongqing Agriculture Bureau: http://www.cqagri.gov.cn/detail.asp?pubID=535458&page=1