PlantwisePlus Blog

Training field diagnosis to pilot trainers and plant doctors in Burundi, March 2021
Image © S. Toepfer

Burundi is set to become the 34th country to join the Plantwise programme and the 13th member country in Africa.

The CABI-led Plantwise programme has helped millions of smallholder farmers to lose less of what they grow to pests and diseases, increasing food security and improving rural livelihoods. So far, Plantwise has set up a sustainable network of over 4,500 clinics in Africa, Asia and the Americas. Thousands of farmers in Burundi are now looking forward to joining this global community of smallholder farmers who have been positively impacted by Plantwise.

One of the key components of the Plantwise programme is the establishment of plant clinics. Usually held in public places, such as markets and village centres, plant clinics are a meeting place where farmers who are experiencing plant health problems can take samples of their ailing crops. Trained plant health officers (referred to as plant doctors) provide free diagnosis and recommendations on how to manage the problem. As plant doctors provide farmers with a prescription for their ‘sick’ crop, data on diagnosis and recommendations are also captured.

In March 2021, CABI`s experts, Dr Stefan Toepfer and Idah Mugambi trained the first 15 plant protection experts from the Institut des Sciences Agronomiques du Burundi (ISABU), the Plant Protection Department (NPPO) of the Ministry of the Environment, Agriculture and Livestock (MINEAGRIE) and their provincial department, as well as Universities to become Plantwise plant doctor instructors in Burundi.

These plant doctor teachers have already implemented preliminary training to 25 pilot plant doctors from 8 of the 19 provinces in Burundi. This initial training covered field diagnosis of plant health problems and plant clinic operations, good pest management advice, and e-clinics. The e-clinics training covers electronic data capture and how to access online and offline plant health information.

Once the training is complete the new Burundian plant doctors will set up 10 test plant clinics. These pilot clinics will be used to collect lessons learnt, enabling Plantwise to be adapted to regional conditions before a full roll out.

Dr Jean Claude Mbarushimana (DG Agriculture, MINEAGRIE) stated “Plantwise and its plant clinics are highly important for Burundi and fit well with Agri-policies. It might be suggested (for the programme) to train plant doctors on all village community levels (3000+ collines) in the long-term, and potentially 10% in the mid-term. This would allow improved food production and to achieve impact”.

The initial three years of Plantwise in Burundi are largely funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Bujumbura (EKN) and the Dutch Organisation for Internationalisation in Education (Nuffic).

Additional information

Main image: Training field diagnosis to pilot trainers and plant doctors in Burundi in March 2021 (Credit: CABI, S.Toepfer)

Find out more:
Burundi prepares to join Plantwise:

About plant clinics:

Burundi news on Plantwise:

CABI welcomes Burundi’s Minister for Environment, Agriculture and Livestock and Ambassador to UK:

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