The recent awareness raising exercise that took place in Fort Portal in the west of Uganda was a roaring success. The key to extending Plantwise in Uganda was to involve the Chief Administrative officers, District Agricultural officers and the NAADS coordinator of each of the districts. The extension service in Uganda is mostly decentralised with the local government officials having a great say in both the budget and the implementation of extension.
Jane Asaba and Joseph Mulema (CABI Uganda) together with Phil Taylor (CABI UK) set off to the west of the country to promote Plantwise to districts of the Western region. They were accompanied by Kanakulya Luswata and Steven Mabira experienced plant doctors from Buikwe and Mukono The ministry (MAAIF) was represented by Benius Tukahirwa.
The six of them set off to Fort Portal in Kabarole district to meet representatives of 16 districts some of whom were already running clinics. The progress of Plantwise in Uganda from its early days (as the Global Plant Clinic) working with NGOs in 2005 up to the present (now 18 districts have clinics) was presented by Jane Asaba and the concept of a plant clinic and the progress of PW around the world presented by Phil Taylor. Joseph Mulema did a great job as master of ceremonies. Steven and Luswata were able to share their first hand experiences of running plant clinics and being a plant doctor. Benius presented the views of the ministry which is 100% behind Plantwise in Uganda.
The officials were not a pushover and asked some probing questions relating to the impact of Plantwise and the recognition of Indigenous Technical Knowledge within the training. However they were invited to express interest in Plantwise by approaching the ministry. After the meeting Benius was approached by all the districts that were not already running plant clinics which was 12 of the 16 district present. All are keen for the training and the start up kits that Plantwise Uganda has to offer so that they can begin plant clinics in their area.