Contributed by Solomon Duah, CABI Ghana
Paul Gyedu, a plant doctor working with the Plantwise program in Ghana, has been awarded the Ashanti region Agricultural Extension Agent (AEA) of the Year Award. Paul works for the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and combines his work as an extension agent with plant clinic operations in the Bekwai Municipality of the Ashanti Region. His experience and plant doctor training played a crucial part in being selected as the best AEA from among over 400 candidates in the region at the 2016 National Farmers’ Day awards ceremony, held on 04 November.
Paul divides his time between his role as a Plantwise plant doctor and as a Ministry of Food and Agriculture AEA – enabling him not only to dedicate time to listening to farmers and providing recommendations on a one-to-one basis during plant clinics, but also giving him the resources to follow up with them in field visits. Being a plant doctor thus enhances his work as an AEA and vice versa: “the plant clinics enable us to have more time for the farmers as we are able to attend to them one-by-one to listen to their problems and make diagnosis. After every clinic day, you feel obliged to follow up to the field, visit the individual farmers on their farms to see if the problems they presented is what is actually happening on the field and that they are applying the recommendations they were given at the clinic.”
But thanks to his exemplary efforts, he is not only one to have been widely recognised. This year, one of the farmers he serves won the best regional mushroom farmer award and another won the best district ginger producer award at the same National Farmers’ Day awards ceremony. Since he started working as a plant doctor, Paul has seen attitudes change. More and more farmers are attending the plant clinics, especially more female farmers, and reliance on harmful insecticides is decreasing. He adds proudly: “other AEAs admit that we are more efficient than them because of the training that we have as plant doctors. I thank CABI Plantwise for the training and other logistics provided for my work because that has contributed immensely to my effectiveness as an AEA. Their support in various forms enables us to reach and educate more farmers.”
02 December is National Farmers’ Day in Ghana. To find out more about our work in Ghana, visit the Plantwise website: https://www.plantwise.org/plant-clinics/plant-clinic-locations/ghana/