Contributed by Vinod Pandit, CABI Country Coordinator for Nepal.
All pictures by Vinod Pandit, Facebook group account.
Plant doctors in Nepal have created a Facebook group so they can share expertise on plant health issues with each other and farmers. As plant doctors were finding it a challenge to diagnose some of the plant disease problems being seen at the plant clinics, they came up with the idea of taking pictures of the samples that were hard to identify and posting them on Facebook.
They started in mid-2014 with an individual account. Later in the year, they created a dedicated Facebook page so it was easier to share information and get responses from a range of different people including plant doctors, other extension staff and research organizations.
Anyone with an interest in plant health is welcome to join the group. Group members simply send through photos of the affected plants to the administrator and they are then uploaded on the page for feedback. The good thing is that most of the plant doctors have a Facebook account which, makes it very easy to grow the number using our group.
The new Facebook group has recently started a photo quiz. A photo showing a specific plant health problem is posted on Facebook twice a month. The first plant doctor to diagnose the problem correctly wins a prize.
Although it has just started, the group has helped plant doctors to improve their diagnoses and recommendations. For example, a plant doctor recently posted a photo showing a plant health problem on Facebook (see picture below) and quickly received a response from a research organization. Thanks to that feedback, he was able to diagnose the pest successfully and could help the farmer.
A similar Facebook group was recently created in Bangladesh. You can find more information on this group here:
Please contact Vinod Pandit if you would like to know more about the group in Nepal. Find his contact details here: