Africa’s smallholders to bear the brunt of COVID-19

This article was originally published by SciDev.Net Governments need to support millions of smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa as the agriculture sector bears the brunt of COVID-19 lockdowns and trade restrictions, scientists say. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s Africa Agriculture Outlook 2016-2025, smallholder farms form about 80 per cent of all farms in Sub-Saharan Africa and directly employ more…
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The importance of plant clinics to Nepalese smallholder farmers

Nepal has immense diversity in its agro-climate and its crop production, thanks to the variation in its physical landscape. However, it faces a major constraint on its agricultural production, due to pests. Various studies indicate that about 35–40% of pre- and post-harvest losses in Nepal are caused by pests. Several types of chemicals are used…
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“Plant clinics help me continue to support my family through farming.” Meet Joyce, a farmer from Malawi

Mayi Joyce Vito is a middle-aged woman with a one-acre farm in Nanjiri, Lilongwe, Malawi. She grows groundnuts, maize and occasionally, cassava. She also has a piece of dambo land where she grows vegetables and has a number of banana trees. Nanjiri is one of the areas in Lilongwe which is regarded as a ‘food…
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Developing ‘last mile’ extension services with Plantwise in Nepal

female farmers at a plant clinic in Nepal
In Nepal, the Community Business Facilitator (CBF) plant doctor programme is a successful pilot. Linking with the private sector, it reaches those in remote rural areas – or ‘last mile’ communities – with plant protection services, substantially increasing incomes and reducing losses for smallholder farmers. The CBF plant doctors conduct clinics at their own cost…
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New plant doctors in India “monitor the field through a farmer’s eyes”

Launching of Plantwise training in the state of Madhya Pradesh, India. With the support of the State Government of Madhya Pradesh, under an RKVY scheme, a 6-day training programme on Plantwise modules was conducted at the Borlaug Institute for South Asia (BISA), Jabalpur, in technical collaboration with CABI.
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Africa’s youth want to cultivate careers, not just crops

This article was originally published on SciDev.Net We need to ensure that Africa’s future farmers not only grow crops but careers as well, argues Sylvia Ng’eno By 2050, Sub-Saharan Africa will be home to a third of the world’s young people, who will play a key part in feeding future generations. No region is this phenomenon of having…
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Microloans make farming profitable for Kenyan smallholders

This article was originally published on SciDev.Net This article is supported by the CASA programme. For 40-year-old Beatrice Mulwale, a smallholder farmer from western Kenya, poor yields and low income had been par for the course for most of her farming life.
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More than advice: farmers say paid-for extension must provide a “bundle of services”

Chinyunyu Plant Clinic in Rufunsa district, Zambia.
Agricultural advisory services are a critical factor to promoting agricultural development, and investments in extension services are potentially important tools for improving agricultural productivity and increasing farmers’ incomes, two desirable outcomes of food security and poverty reduction articulated in MDGs and SDGs.
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Personalised plant health advice from sowing to harvesting at plant clinics in India

Two plant doctors inspect paddy crop at a plant clinic in Puducherry, India
It has been proven that access to extension services is one of the key pathways to enhancing technology uptake, promoting innovations, and improving production among smallholder farmers. These studies have pointed out the very high rates of return (13-500%) of extension as an economically viable way to increase productivity and income. In fact, the same…
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In Thiruvaiyaru, plant clinics are “a source of inspiration to do agriculture with clarity, confidence and interest.”

Since 2012, farmers in Thiruvaiyaru block, Thanjavur district in the state of Tamil Nadu, India, have had been using Plantwise plant clinics to help solve problems with pests and diseases. The programme there is run by the M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) in collaboration with Plantwise. Agriculture is the primary livelihood of 70% of…
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