How farmers benefit from plant clinics: an impact study in Bolivia
A survey of 238 clinic users found that most adopted the clinics' recommendations
Between 2000 and 2009, 9 plant clinics in 3 agro-ecological areas of Bolivia (Andes, lowlands and valleys) served about 800 communities in an area roughly 300 × 100km. Over 6000 farmers consulted these clinics with 9000 queries. Many found the advice so useful that they visited the clinics repeatedly. A survey of 238 clinic users found that most adopted the clinics’ recommendations. Fruit and vegetable growers who followed the clinic recommendations tended to spend less on pesticides. As for certain crops like potato, citrus and peach palm, a modest increase in pesticides helped improve the quality and quantity of the harvest. Farmers improved their incomes by following the clinics’ advice. The poorest farmers enjoyed the greatest increase in income per hectare. This was the first study to explore the impact of plant clinics; future studies need to be improved, for example by obtaining baseline data and by comparing clinic users to their peers who have not used clinics.
Bentley, J.; Boa, E.; Almendras, F.; Franco, P.; Antezana, O.; Díaz, O.; Franco, J.; Villarroel, J. How farmers benefit from plant clinics: an impact study in Bolivia. International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability (2011) 9 (3) 393-408. [DOI: 10.1080/14735903.2011.583482]