A recent study led by CABI and published in International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, explores how communication and its technical content shape farmers’ response to advice delivered at plant clinics. How willing were farmers to accept or reject the technologies recommended at plant clinic consultations? And what were the reasons? The research was carried out in Malawi, Costa Rica and Nepal, with the team visiting one plant clinic in each country.
Plant clinics in Vietnam have received a major boost with the introduction of digital devices to facilitate the work of plant doctors. The use of tablets and smartphones has been proven to help plant doctors improve the quantity and quality of data generated from plant clinic operations. With improved ICTs, the captured data from plant clinics can be added swiftly to the Plantwise Online Management Systems (POMS) and managed from one device. Prior to this, plant clinic operations were dependent on a paper-based system of recording pest and disease data provided by farmers during clinics.
E-plant clinics in Sri Lanka were launched in June 2015. Since then 190 Plant doctors have been trained and equipped with tablets, with the Sri Lankan Ministry of Agriculture funding half of the total number of tablets themselves. Being equipped with tablets means Plant doctors give higher quality recommendations, and the data collection process is also considerably streamlined. Below are two snapshots of how e-plant clinics are doing in Sri Lanka.
During 3-day training workshop, participants learnt how to validate Plantwise diagnoses and recommendations and how to analyze data from Vietnam stored on the Plantwise Knowledge bank. This activity is useful and necessary for the staff working in plant protection because they can examine and evaluate skills and qualifications of Plant doctors and also can have an overall vision and panorama picture about pest and diseases of each plant in each region of the project. Thus, the need for training of Plant doctors could be identified with the aim to enhance their skills and knowledge, to diagnose more accurately pests, and to improve the quality of advice helping farmers prevent effectively pests and diseases, while ensuring safety for people and environment.
The software application WhatsApp is being used by plant doctors in Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Honduras to provide and receive plant diagnostic support. WhatsApp has proven to be popular in many countries, because it is a free communication tool for sending and receiving SMS messages. Continue reading →
Report by Dr Sivapragasam Annamalai, CABI Country Coordinator for Plantwise Vietnam
Mr. Philip Walters, the Chairman of the Governing Board, CABI visited a plant clinic in Tan My Chanh Village, My Tho City, Tien Giang Province, south Vietnam on the 2nd November, 2015. It was his first ever visit to a plant clinic in operation. During the visit, he was accompanied by Dr. Nguyen Van Tuat, the Vice President of VAAS and National Coordinator of Plantwise Vietnam; Dr. Nguyen Van Hoa, Director General of the Southern Fruits Research Institute (SOFRI), a local Implementing Organization of Plantwise, Vietnam and Dr. Siva Annamalai, the CABI Country Coordinator for Plantwise in Vietnam. During the visit, he was able to see the plant doctors in action diagnosing disease samples and giving appropriate recommendations for the problems faced by mainly citrus farmers in the area. He also interviewed some farmers and a Vice Chairman of the commune to get a feel of their perception on plant clinics and their future needs.
After the visit to the plant clinic, Mr Philip visited SOFRI and was briefed on the overall Plantwise operations in Vietnam by Dr. Tuat and Dr. Hoa. He addressed the questions raised by the Plantwise Team in Vietnam, assisted by Dr. Siva. Mr. Philip also visited the diagnostic laboratory and other Plantwise-related facilities in SOFRI. Overall, the trip was a successful one and in the words of Mr. Philip: “impressed with the Plantwise developments going on in Vietnam”.
Progress made by Plantwise in 2015 was the subject of the global programme’s annual Donor Forum earlier this month (October 6-7, 2015). The meeting took place in the Swiss Pavilion at the Milan World Expo where Plantwise is the focus of an interactive exhibit.
Kicking off the two-day session, Plantwise Executive Dr Ulrich Kuhlmann reported on progress from the past year of expansion and consolidation for Plantwise across 34 countries. Highlights included the updated Plantwise Strategy for 2015-2020, the development of a systematic monitoring and evaluation plan for roll-out in all Plantwise countries, as well as more than 850 newly trained plant doctors. Continue reading →