Contributed by Jane Frances Asaba and Joseph Mulema, both CABI Africa, and Phil Taylor, CABI Egham-UK Plantwise has been operating in Uganda for 8 years, throughout which progress in setting up plant clinics with partners has been slow but steady. Recently, things are really taking off; extension workers being instructed to attend courses by their superiors, and their role as plant doctors is becoming part of their expected duties. Following on from a very successful awareness raising visit to the west of the country in January, Plantwise Uganda, headed up by Joseph Mulema and Jane Asaba of CABI Africa, and European resource support Phil Taylor, have returned to Fort Portal to provide training in “How to be a Plant Doctor,” Modules 1 and Module 2. Chief administrative officers and District Agricultural officers from across Uganda are almost competing with each other to be the next district trained in the Plantwise courses and helped in the setting up of clinics. The numbers of districts with plant clinics operating is beginning to exceed those without clinics in some areas. To meet the increasing demand for clinics, Benius Tukahirwa and Joab Tugume, two local trainers, are being mentored so they can provide the training in the future. They are both based in the Uganda Ministry of Agriculture, another indicator the Ministry’s support for Plantwise and the sustainability of plant clinics in Uganda into the future. Following the training at the Lisieux Centre in Fort-Portal, Kabarole district of western Uganda, Plant clinics will be established in the following districts: Buliisa, Bushenyi, Bundibungyo, Ibanda, Kamwenge, Kasese Kiryandongo, Kyenjojo, Kyegegwa, Mbarara, Mubende, Ntungamo and Ntoroko. The enthusiasm is palpable. As Kamobona Naboth, one of the trainees from Kamwenge district, comments “ We cannot wait to go back home and embark on giving quality advice to the farmers who have for long been seeking this kind of support. More awareness visits, follwed by Plantwise training are planned for the North of the country later in the year.
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