Plantwise Plant Clinics in Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago Country Coordinator Shamela Rambadan sent the photo below of a Soursop (Annona muricata) plant brought into a clinic in County Victoria in Trinidad and Tobago by farmer Ramesh Ramnanan last month. The symptoms described included yellowed, distorted leaves and visible insects on the leaves, as seen in the photo. Plant health officer Zobida Mohammed diagnosed the symptoms to be caused by mealybugs and scale insects and recommended that the farmer used a suitable insecticide on the crop to avoid further damage.

A photo of the leaves of a Soursop plant from a plant clinic in County Victoria. The insect pests are visible as white dots along the leaf veins. Image courtesy of Zobida Mohammed

A farmer at a plant clinic in Trinidad & Tobago with a sample of his tomato crop. Image courtesy of Shamela Rambadan

At the same clinic, another farmer, Ramdai Arneaud, bought in a sample of his tomato plants which showed symptoms of rotting stems, browning of the leaf margins and gradual death from the base of the plants, with dieback at the growing tip. This time the diagnosis was not so simple, so a sample of the plant was sent to the laboratory and a field visit was arranged to see the rest of the tomato crop before a diagnosis was made.

These examples are typical of the work that goes on at the Plantwise clinics in Trinidad and Tobago. To date there are 8 plant clinics in Trinidad and a further 2 planned for Tobago. Currently there are 23 trained plant health officers (plant doctors) that function in the clinics, 4 of which were trained in Tobago. All the clinics are currently run at the Ministry of Food Production Extension Offices and take place once a month on a Tuesday. In future plant clinics may be established in a range of different locations and dates to further increase the numbers of farmers attending the clinics, with the aim of ensuring as many people as possible have access to advice on diagnosing and managing plant pests and diseases.

To find out more about plant pests and diseases in Trinidad and Tobago, visit the Plantwise Knowledge Bank where you can find images, distribution maps and further information on nearly 300 plant pests and diseases found in the country.

Farmers and Plant Health Officers at a Plant Clinic in El Reposo. Image courtesy of Shamela Rambadan.

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