Last year Plantwise launched in Jammu & Kashmir state, India, with the establishment of 15 plant clinics across 3 districts in the Jammu region. This year sees the launch of an exciting new development, with the roll-out of e-plant clinics to revolutionize the extension system and support the quick transfer of information and advice to farmers via text messages on their mobile phones. This process began with a series of training workshops last month, which were officially inaugurated by Jenab Ghulam Nabi Lone Hanjura, Minister of Agriculture, Government of Jammu & Kashmir.
The launch was also attended by senior dignitaries including Sh. A. K. Malhotra (Director of Agriculture, Jammu); Sushil Sahni (Director of Law Enforcement, Jammu & Kashmir); Dr. Vinod Pandit (Plantwise Coordinator, CABI South Asia); Dr. R K Gupta (Associate Professor, Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Jammu); Pradeep Sharma (Agriculture Extension Officer) and other senior officers.
Dr. Vinod Pandit, the Plantwise Coordinator based at the CABI South Asia office in New Delhi, explained to the gathered plant doctors how tablets will make the running of their clinics more efficient and that they had been especially chosen to launch this new approach in the region. Sh. A. K. Malhotra, the Jammu Director of Agriculture, stressed how e-plant clinics were a unique opportunity to strengthen the region’s agricultural advisory system. The training was then facilitated by CABI’s Dr. Manju Thakur and Sh. R. Ganeshmoorthy.
Mr Anil Narogtra noted: “ICT use will greatly support [ work in field vis-a-vis give correct information to department for taking proactive actions against the menace of pests and diseases affecting crops in Jammu”. Director Agriculture, Contact point for Plantwise programme in Jammu, said he will be able to personally monitor the flow of plant clinic data and plant clinic activities using this new ICT. All the plant doctors in training seemed excited to work on this new approach and were highly motivated to give their best. The launch was covered by various media organizations and deparment of information of Jammu & Kashmir government.