Plantwise held an e-plant clinics review workshop on September 8th-9th in Machakos, Kenya. This workshop brought together the 30 plant doctors who, with funds from Dow AgroSciences, are now equipped with tablets and have been running e-plant clinics since their training in June 2015. The plant doctors are using the tablets in their clinics to access a wide range of plant health resources, send recommendations to farmers via SMS and to collect and submit data electronically.
The workshop was attended by Osama Emara from Dow AgroSciences who’s based in Kenya on assignment at AMPATH. AMPATH offers a holistic and care focused approach to health service in Kenya, especially to those with HIV. They see food security as a vital part of health and were therefore keen to help Plantwise prevent crop losses.
During the review workshop participants shared their experience of using tablets with Osama and the Plantwise team.
Electronic prescription form
“We prefer the electronic prescription form. If you look at what is happening everything is going electronic: e-extension, e-visa and e-learning. Everything here is digital.”
“It saves time. Revising the data is easy and fast.”
“The form is portable so when you are moving around and you encounter plant health problem you are able to help with that.”
“The paper is difficult to carry. Sometimes you forget. The tablet you take.”
“I live 150k from the data center. We used to have to pay for the delivery of prescriptions forms to the data center. With the electronic form you just synchronise.”
How farmers have reacted to e-plant clinics
“The number of farmers attending clinics has increased because you are taking less time to attend each farmer.”
“Farmers can keep the recommendations and share with other farmers in the community.”
“Farmers can call you and tell you if the recommendation was successful or not.”
“It increases the confidence of the farmers that the plant doctors are knowledgeable.”
Telegram communication app
“It is also being used to share technical information between plant doctors.
It is also very cost effective.”
“When you have met a farmer and you have a difficult case which you cannot really give a good recommendation. It is easy to use the Telegram to reach other plant doctors and you will get an answer.”
Plantwise Factsheets Library app
“It is specific. When you use to use the books to get to know exactly which pest was there was hard. But with the factsheet you can see the photo and you are addressing the actual problem.”
“It is portable. It is hard to carry the books and some of the books have not been updated they were written maybe 10 or 11 years ago and the chemicals written in them you may not even be able to buy them in the shops.”
Feedback like this, collected in the review workshop, allows Plantwise to monitor the project’s success and refine our approach. The plant doctors were so appreciative of the benefits that the tablets are bringing to their clinics that they gave Osama one of Kenya’s specialty thank you handshakes. This handshake started with the first participant and was passed one by one through all 30 participants, until it was fully ‘warmed’ and finally delivered to Osama.