Module 1 of the How to be a Plant Doctor has recently taken place at the Makerere University Agricultural research institute. The training over 3 days (12th –14th Nov) was opened by Dr Robert Karyeija, the assistant commissioner for crop protection, and was led by CABI trainers Phil Taylor from CABI UK and Joseph Mulema CABI Africa. The training was in association with Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF). The trainees were from 8 districts that already have Plant Clinics (but are intending to increase the number) and an additional 6 districts that are intending to start clinics shortly Iganga,Luwero,Kabarole, Mityana, Wakiso and Kibale. Morris Akiri the Regional Director of CABI Africa closed the training.
The newly trained Plant Doctors were given a cap and shirt (with “Plant Doctor” written in local language on the back) plantwise pen and badge and also a laboratory white coat with “Plantwise” logo on front and back. This was especially popular with the trainees as they were beginning to feel like medical doctors. The intention is to return in 2013 for further training in Module 2, trainees are keen to receive further training.
One of the trainees Stephen Byandala said “The course was so good, enriching and hands on with practical experiences and we are looking forward to replicating the skills that we acquired in the communities where we work. Plant clinics will go a long way in solving farmers pest and disease problems that are a threat to our food security”.
Plantwise (formally as the Global Plant Clinic) has been working in Uganda since 2005 but the number of clinics is really starting to increase now with local government requesting training and equipment. Once they have given assurances that they will support local clinics they are given tents banners tables and chairs supplied by MAAIF and Plantwise.