Since 2001 Funica has promoted new approaches to extension through the Funds for Technical Assistance (FAT) striving for creative, timely, flexible advice, cost-efficiency and impact.
In 2005, FUNICA and the Global Plant Clinic established four pilot mobile plant clinics (Puestos para Plantas) in the Segovias, northern Nicaragua, to respond to farmer demand for advice on plant protection.
At a plant clinic, 'plant doctors' examine sick plants, make a diagnosis and give a management recommendation. This simple community service is based on local skills, designed to meet the specific needs of clients quickly and at low cost. It is a public service, open to everyone.
This book presents experiences from the first year and some tools on how to manage a mobile plant clinic. With the skills and networks now in place, there is a good foundation for the clinic model to be spread to other parts of Nicaragua.
This book first appeared in Spanish. In this English version, the authors have reduced some of the text but it remains faithful to the original. Much has happened in Nicaragua since the Spanish edition was published. There are 6 new clinics, mentioned briefly in chapter 3; farmer demand for assistance continues to increase; the network of diagnostic laboratories is helping more plant doctors; more training courses have been held; and a book of 31 fact sheets for farmers (hojas volantes) has been produced by the plant doctors.
Fundación para el Desarrollo Tecnológico Agropecuario y Forestal de Nicaragua (FUNICA), Nicaragua, 47 pp.