Reaching out to farmers with plant health clinics in Uganda
The article describes the Plantwise approach to improving plant health advisory services
Ugandan farmers experience low farm level productivity attributed to various factors that include poor management practices, use of unimproved varieties, poor soil fertility and losses to pests and diseases. Pests and diseases cause 30-40% pre-harvest and post-harvest losses. The Plantwise initiative aims at improving the availability of knowledge and information on pest and disease management to farmers through strengthening existing in-country plant health systems and providing a knowledge bank that supports the country’s knowledge base. Farmers receive free extension advice based on their specific crop problems presented at 145 plant clinics that have been established in 70 districts and run by more than 200 trained plant doctors. The plant clinic approach will be beneficial to farmers if aspects of increased access, gender concerns and capacity are addressed. It can yield success when embedded in national systems and organisations thereby building the links and relationships necessary for a functioning plant health system that adequately links research, extension, farmers, agro-dealers and regulatory bodies.
Aloke, C.; Tukahirwa, B.; Oruka, D.; Okotel, M.; Bukenya, C.; Mulema, J. Reaching out to farmers with plant health clinics in Uganda. Uganda Journal of Agricultural Sciences (2015) 15: 15-26.