Listening to the Silent Patient: Uganda's Journey towards Institutionalizing Inclusive Plant Health Services


Every year, farmers in sub-Saharan Africa suffer from unacceptable levels of crop loss as a result of plant health problems, threatening their food security, income and livelihoods. This working paper shares lessons from Plantwise, an initiative to improve smallholder farmers’ access to plant health services in Uganda so that they can improve their yields, increase their incomes and improve their food security and livelihoods. The working paper presents lessons from almost ten years of experiences in implementing plant clinics in Uganda. It includes case studies that describe, and put into perspective, the experiences of five plant clinics.

Plantwise (which started in 2011) is aiming to make high quality, relevant information available to farmers, extension systems and governments, contributing to strengthening plant health systems by working with local extension services, non-governmental organizations and other key actors in plant health to provide smallholder farmers with access to advisory services from plant clinics. The idea behind plant clinics comes from human health clinics: people visit health clinics for preventive and curative care. Likewise, farmers could go to plant clinics with their crop samples. This working paper zooms in on three important practice areas related to plant clinics.

  • Plant clinic operations and local plant clinic adaptations that emerged to improve performance, reach, quality, effectiveness and impact.
  • Inclusion in plant clinic services, addressing the needs of diverse farmers in Uganda and, more specifically, gender issues.
  • Embedding and institutionalization of plant clinics in policies, procedures and practices of the organizations and institutions of which they are part.


Mur, R.; Williams, F.; Danielsen, S.; Audet-Bélanger, G.; Mulema, J. Listening to the Silent Patient: Uganda’s Journey towards Institutionalizing Inclusive Plant Health Services. CABI, Wallingford, UK (2015) 224 pp. [CABI Working Paper 7] [DOI: 10.1079/CABIPLANT-37-55]

Listening to the Silent Patient: Uganda’s Journey towards Institutionalizing Inclusive Plant Health Services

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