Since the first Plant clinic in China opened its doors in 2012, Plantwise activities in the country have gone from strength to strength. With help from local partners and the Chinese Institute of Plant Protection (IPP-CAAS), CABI were able to set up 9 plant clinics in China in 2012 and trained 29 plant doctors to run them. These clinics have received a great deal of praise for the services they provide for local farmers, which include diagnostic expertise, information about the pest or disease and tailored treatment advice.
Zhao Shifu, an agriculture technician in Beijing’s Shunyi district, has more than 20 years of experience in plant pests and diseases and was one of the first plant doctors trained in China. He began working as a plant doctor in his spare time at a clinic in a local shop that sells pesticides and fertilisers. As Zhao explained to China Daily, the clinics work a lot more efficiently than sending agricultural technicians out to the farmers, as this sometimes means that only a few farmers can be visited each day. Originally the clinic planned to open just once a week but was so popular that it now operates daily.
Visiting farmers have also been impressed by the clinics. Zhang Fengquan, a farmer in Bejing’s Shunyi district, comes to the clinic at the first sign of a problem on her crop. She prefers these clinics to visiting agrochemical sellers as the plant doctors provide her with information about the cause and prevention of the problem, as well as treatment advice.
Min Wan, project officer for CABI, said that there are already plans to open around 8 new plant clinics in China within the next year. This reflects the great success of those clinics already in operation and the benefits that they provide, as well as the demand for such services in the country.
The Plantwise clinic programme began in 2002 as the Global Plant Clinic (GPC) and ran until 2010, when the establishment of Plantwise was able to greatly expand the programme and provide additional support to the clinics. To read more about plant clinics around the world click here.