Paulus Verschuren, a CABI Board member, recently visited Myanmar, accompanied by CABI staff, associates and representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation. His motivation for the trip was “to get out and learn in the field what Plantwise means to farmers and other stakeholders”. The brief but busy itinerary entailed field visits to see plant clinics in action and also to meet with some of the key donors currently operating in Myanmar.
Paul Gyedu, a plant doctor working with the Plantwise program in Ghana, has been awarded the Ashanti region Agricultural Extension Agent (AEA) of the Year Award. Paul works for the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and combines his work as an extension agent with plant clinic operations in the Bekwai Municipality of the Ashanti Region. His experience and plant doctor training played a crucial part in being selected as the best AEA from among over 400 candidates in the region at the 2016 National Farmers’ Day awards ceremony, held on 04 November.
Different doctors treat different types of diseases. When the villagers of Rohal Suong in Cambodia feel sick, they can consult a doctor. Now when their crops are sick, they can also go to another doctor, a plant health advisor, who can provide information on the best methods to treat crop pests and diseases.
Last week in the Nkhotakota region of Malawi a new radio show went on air. Not a news programme or a music show, but a show devoted to Cassava. Sounds pretty specific? Well, it’s even more focussed than that. The weekly 30 minute programme is actually focussed on managing one of Cassava’s most damaging diseases – Cassava mosaic disease.
The emergence of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in the last decade has opened new avenues in knowledge management that could play important roles in meeting the prevailing challenges related to sharing, exchanging and disseminating knowledge and technologies. The types of ICT-enabled services are capable of improving the capacity and livelihoods of poor smallholders are growing quickly.
Plantwise Kenya held a demonstration plant clinic at the University of Eldoret Agribusiness Trade Fair, held on the university’s campus from 22-25 September. The fair, which has been an annual highlight in western Kenya for the past 11 years, saw around 30,000 visitors exploring over 200 exhibits.
After a successful pilot phase in Nepal, with plant clinics in 45 districts reaching more than 5000 farmers, Plantwise is now looking to scale up and become sustainable by getting partners to commit resources to the programme. To maximise synergies with existing agricultural extension methods, partners have suggested linking plant clinics with farmer field schools, which are already established in Nepal.
In Nepal, farmer field schools are run by the Ministry of Agriculture and Development (MoAD) and the Plant Protection Directorate (PPD), with technical support from FAO and funding from the World Bank. About 250 farmer field schools were established but fewer than 100 are currently active. Five farmer field schools (one in each of the five administrative regions of Nepal) act as Key Resource Centres for all of the districts in their region, providing biocontrol agents, monitoring and technical support.