A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between CABI and Pakistan’s Agriculture Department Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) to launch the Plantwise programme in the province.
The aim of the agreement is to build the capacity of agricultural staff of KPK and to provide research-based advisory services to farmers to help them grow more healthy and profitable crops – losing less to a range of pests and diseases.
Plantwise works closely with national agricultural advisory services to establish and support a sustainable network of plant clinics, run by trained plant doctors, where farmers can find practical plant health advice.
The MoU was signed by Dr Babar Bajwa, Regional Director – CABI Central and West Asia, and Mr Muhammad Naseem, Director General Agriculture (Extension) KPK in the presence of Mr Israr Khan, Secretary Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Mr Naeem Aslam, Country Coordinator CABI Plantwise, and Mr Muhammad Naveed, Provincial Coordinator Plantwise KPK, were also present at the occasion.
It was agreed that CABI will conduct training workshops for extension field staff of Agriculture Department KPK who will then serve as master trainers for the Plantwise program. CABI will also provide technical assistance to the agriculture department in the identification and research-oriented control of different insects/pests on different crops in KPK.
Dr Bajwa said, “KPK is well known for the production of good quality fruits and vegetables but is under attack from different insect pests and diseases. This disturbs the value chain of different commodities. The Plantwise programme will help to address the issue by providing on the spot diagnostic services to the farming community by setting up plant clinics at prominent locations.”
Mr Naeem Aslam, Country Coordinator for Plantwise, explained that CABI is also successfully implementing the Plantwise programme in all other provinces of Pakistan and that the latest agreement will continue to work for the betterment of farming communities in Pakistan.
Mr Israr Khan, Secretary Agriculture, acknowledged the efforts of CABI in Pakistan for its greater community benefits and is looking forward to providing support to build strong working relations in the province.