In abid to create awareness about plant clinic in Uganda plantwise in collaboration with centre for Agriculture and Biosciences international (CABI UK) organized a one day sensitization workshop at lesuiex centre kabarole district about improving food security and the lives of the small farmers in Uganda.
It was also aimed at bringing together science organizations, Agricultural ministries, civil society organizations and extension providers to help them develop sustainable national plant health systems where community based plant clinics provide practical advice to small holder farmers when they need it.
Plantwise supports local extension providers to establish and run plant clinic as farmers bring their diseased plants for diagnosis and given good advice from experts commonly known as ‘ plant doctors’ and this has helped farmers lose less of their crops, get more yields, incomes and increasing food security
It was noticed that about 10-20% in average crop losses in Uganda during pre-harvest is high and 20-30% during the post harvest period due to crop pests and diseases .
District officials who attended the workshop were advise by phil Taylor of CABI UK to integrate plant clinic programmes with those of national agriculture advisory services (NAADS) so that it should not look as an independent project to farmers in total nine districts across the region were presented which include among others kasese, kabarole, ntoroko, bundibugyo, kamwenge, kyenjojo, kyegewa, buikwe, mukono, hoima and Ntungomo.
According to plant wise Uganda twenty three plant clinics have been established with the help of their implementing partners like ministry of agriculture, animal industry and fisheries(MAAIF), Rwenzori information centres networks (RIC-NET),Local government, makerere university, national agriculture resaech organization (NARO), caritas this year the ministry of agriculture and partners hope to establish more clinics in other parts of the country and build capacity to run them especially during market days and on routine basis so that farmers needs are addressed
Despite of plant clinics gaining coverage with farmers in Uganda, it has been faced with number of challenges like plant doctors not having inadequate skills to handle different plant species, basic equipments like lenses, knives, torch, reference materials like photo sheets to use, insuffient funds to facilitate the activity, lack of technical back stopping like of NARO, lack of feedback from National laboratories and also many people mistake plant doctors to herbalists because they deal with diseased samples of plants which farmers bring for diagnosis and farmers questions the type of clinic plant doctors use without medicine apart from giving them advices.Joseph mulema of CABI Africa said there is need to increase plant clinic coverage in every agricultural area in this country since farmers have liked the initiative