By Umair Safdar, Plantwise Pakistan
Agriculture is increasingly knowledge-intensive with a continuing need to provide the right information to the people who need it most, making a real difference to their livelihoods. This ensures food security for the ever-growing population by providing the best possible remedies for crop health issues. Globally, rapid adoption of ICT tools and applications provides new avenues to share and access information.
CABI acknowledges the need for ICTs in agriculture and the Plantwise plant clinics have been transformed by shifting the manual data recording system to digital. These have come to be known as e-plant clinics. The digital strategy really changes the way different stakeholders in agricultural production and value chains can collect, analyse, store and share agricultural information.
As part of a national Plantwise approach for the next couple of years, the Local Implementing Organization (LIO) in Punjab, and hopefully other provinces, will help the program to improve the coordinated planning and running of a desktop version of data collection app to avoid duplication and the wastage of resources.
In order to undertake this strategy, a training workshop of 26 participants from 18 districts of Punjab was held in Islamabad. Ms. Manju Thakur (Plantwise Knowledge Bank Coordinator, South Asia) and Mr. Muhammad Naeem Aslam (Country Coordinator, Plantwise Pakistan) provided training to the participants of program. This two-day training workshop not only enabled the each participant to conveniently record plant clinic information directly to their laptop or tablet (provided by the LIO), but also empowered them to use the Plantwise factsheets and Pest Management Decision Guides (PMDGs) through Factsheet Library App from their devices.
Ms. Manju explained to the participants that this process is similar to the previous paper based system but more efficient and time-saving as the data entry operator is responsible for entering the plant clinic records, which are received from different plant clinics within a district. After entering the complete data, the same is shared with a data validator who then thoroughly reviews and edits the data if needed.
Mr. Naeem stated that this system allows for the validated data to be directly uploaded to the Plantwise Online Management System (POMS), rather than via the Plantwise data management team making this ICT effective and time-saving. He further added that this approach is widely appreciated by the stakeholders of the program and Plantwise Pakistan is also planning to have the same approach for other provinces.