Plantwise programme was launched in Bangladesh with Plant Protection Wing (PPW), Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) in 2015 after signing MOU with Ministry of Agriculture and Economic Relations Division of Ministry of Finance. The programme initially started with establishment of 10 plant clinics in 5 districts and is gradually scaled up to 30 plant clinics in 10 districts now. 24 July marked the launch of e plant clinics pilot in Bangladesh with the training of 10 plant doctors. In order to ensure smooth data flow from plant clinics and test new innovative ICT technologies in the ongoing plant clinic approach, tablets were distributed to the plant doctors for data collection. The program was inaugurated by Dr Amitav Das, Director (PPW), Md. Rezaul Islam, Deputy Director (IPM) and Arefur Rahaman (PPW) by distributing tablets to the participants. 10 active plant doctors who were regularly recording and submitting clinic data were chosen for this e plant clinic training.
Plant doctors were trained on following aspects:
- how electronic data collection and submission could make collection of data about crops and pests easier in the plant clinic areas
- how to use the Plantwise factsheets library app, ebooks library, and internet to access information resources during their clinics
- how to communicate with other plant doctors and local diagnostic experts using a chat app.
- how to ensure that farmers receive good advice in a written recommendation, in the language and format (either SMS or paper) chosen by the farmer
These plant doctors were holding designations of Sub-Assistant Plant Protection Officer (SAPPO), Agriculture Extension Officer (AEO) and Sub-Assistant Agriculture officer (SAAO) and were already running plant clinics since inception of Plantwise programme in Bangladesh. The group showed great interest to pickup new technology. The participants were also connected with each other and experts through telegram. National Data Manager would act as the group administrator. These PD’s are expected to cover 16 e plant clinics in these locations viz., Fulpur, Muktagasa, Kaliakor, Savar, Paba, Tangail Sadar, Kashiani Gopalganj, Sonargaon, Singail, Dhamrai. The results of the pilot would be reviewed at the end of the pilot period and methods would be improved based on the lessons learnt.