In early 2005, the Nicaraguan Foundation for Technological Development in Agriculture, Livestock and Forestry (FUNICA) began a pilot service in collaboration with the Global Plant Clinic (GPC), the Central American Integrated Pest Management Program (PROMIPAC), the National Commission for Agricultural Education (CNEA) and local organisations in Las Segovias, northern Nicaragua, to improve farmers' access to adequate and timely information and advisory services for plant health.
Four Plant Clinics (Puestos para Plantas in Spanish) were initially established as a new type of farmer-friendly public service. This was followed by the establishment of the Diagnostic Network (now the Plant Healthcare and Diagnostic Network), giving the support from specialists to provide correct diagnoses and seek accurate control options.
At the end of 2007 there were 18 Plant Clinics managed by farmers' organisations, NGOs and INTA (Nicaraguan Agricultural Technology Institute) in 5 regions of the country, and some 14 new clinics were being planned. The extensionists ('plant doctors') had responded to over 2,000 queries in more than 100 crops. New diseases had been discovered; diagnostic laboratories were being used more, and a database of the queries containing valuable information for making strategic decisions had been established.
This report presents the results of a self-evaluation made by a diverse team of actors of the Plant Clinics and Plant Healthcare Network. The self-evaluation covers the period from March 2005 to November 2007, and documents results and experiences, identifies the main achievements, difficulties, keys to success and defines guidelines to consolidate the National Plant Protection System in Nicaragua.
The original Spanish edition of this report 'Servicios Públicos de Salud de Plantas para Todos. Resultados y Lecciones Aprendidas 2005-2007' was published in 2008.