Plantwise is expanding rapidly and it is difficult to keep up with the demand (see Plantwise heads west) in some parts of Africa. Uganda was one of the first countries that took up the concept of Plant clinics and thus it is one of the most advanced in clinic numbers and in the integration of Plantwise into the infrastructure of the country’s extension service.
Up until now training was provided by staff from the UK, originally, Rob Reeder and more recently Phil Taylor, with support from the local CABI staff in Uganda. However the demand for Plantwise is growing at such a pace and the level of experience of local people has grown such that now is the time for local people to begin training plant doctors.
The training session for trainers took place at the Casa Miltu Hotel in Ntinda Kampala. Eight trainers undertook the exercises which took them through the whole process of training plant doctors. They were from a variety of backgrounds university lecturer, research, regulation, the ministry of agriculture and experienced plant doctors themselves.
The exercises and presentations that form a core part of the training were dissected and the trainees had the educational learning process that underpin the training explained to them.
As part of the training they had to make a field diagnosis in front of the class to show that they were able to perform one of the key aspects of the training. Each trainee also had to give a presentation to the class and had their efforts video recorded and played back to them with other trainees making critical (although supportive) comments. There is a lot to the Plantwise training and they are not ready to give the plant doctor training just because they have been on the course. However they have started the process of becoming trainers and will assist in the training and be mentored in the coming months until they will be proficient in giving the training themselves.