In the Kabwe District of Zambia, Adamson Andrew Tembo is the acting senior agricultural officer (SAO) working with the Ministry of Agriculture. He is trained as an agricultural engineer and his role has been as an irrigation engineer. He was transferred to Kabwe District in January 2017 and assumed the role of SAO in July that year. Kabwe district has five plant clinics; one permanently based at Chililalila and the rest mobile plant clinics; operated by two plant doctors. Although Mr Tembo has not been trained as a plant doctor, he has access to a rich Plantwise informational resource; the Plantwise Factsheets Library app on his phone.
He learned about the app from the plant doctors he supervises. With the app, he says that his work life has been transformed; information available on the Plantwise Factsheet Library has helped him gain substantial knowledge on plant health issues, agronomic practices and good agricultural practices that are specific to a crop or pest and disease in his country.
By using the Plantwise Factsheet Library, he has learned how to diagnose and identify plant health problems, and various measures on managing these pest and disease problems. The photos of the different pest problems are extremely helpful in identifying various crop health problems. “You just show a photo of the crop health problem to a farmer and they straight-away identify the problem as the ones on their crops”. Now that he has the app, he feels confident to do his work, and can authoritatively advise farmers on various plant issues.
In addition, he can easily understand the reports that plant doctors submit on a monthly or quarterly basis when they report on plant clinic activities. Consequently, his interest has been piqued to read more about various pests and diseases that affect the various crops in his district, thus gaining substantial knowledge on pest and disease management in crops. He says that “with the Plantwise Factsheets Library, I’ve learnt a lot about pest and disease control and management. I’m confident to stand in front of farmers talk to them about crop pest and diseases, how to diagnose and manage them, unlike before when I did not feel confident to talk about crop pests and diseases to farmers”.
Having realized how important and informative the Plantwise Factsheets Library app is, Mr Tembo readily shares the app with farmers that use smart digital devices so that they can read more about the various pests and diseases affecting their crops on their own. He proudly concluded that “With the Plantwise Factsheet Library app, I am complete”.
Mr Tembo echoes sentiments that many extension officers, plant doctors included, hold regarding the Plantwise Factsheet Library. The app enables them to provide farmers with precise diagnosis and management options for most of the crop pests and diseases that are specific to their country, instantly, right on their fields, just by referring to the Plantwise Factsheets Library app. Farmers get correct pesticide recommendations that work, and this promotes safe and responsible pesticides use. As a result, farmers trust recommendations they receive from their agricultural extension officers and regularly consult them before they buy pesticides, or implement any new pest and disease management options on their fields. Farmers say that “With a prescription sheet from a plant doctor, an agro dealer cannot sell to you a product that is different from what the plant doctor recommended”.
The Plantwise Factsheets Library app is just another way Plantwise is working to empower farmers and extension workers with digital innovations.
Find out more about Plantwise in Zambia→
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