Some 795 million people in the world do not have enough food to lead a healthy active life. Worldwide, about 40% of crops are lost to pests and diseases. Research has shown that 1% reduction in crop loss could feed millions.
Agriculture should be taken as key driving force for many African countries’ economic development. Modernizing agriculture development requires polices to empower farmers, to increase their knowledge and skills related to plant disease management.
Those are the the challenges CABI (Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International) has taken on. CABI is an international nonprofit international organization that aims to improve people’s lives by providing information and applying scientific expertise to solve problems in agriculture and the environment through knowledge sharing and science. CABI wants to address issues of global concern such as improving global food security and safeguarding the environment.
CABI, in partnership with different states and other government institutions, initiated a program to help farmer reduce crop losses, through their plant health knowledge program called Plantwise. Plantwise is helping countries create new linkages between farmers and the science-based knowledge they need to manage pests, increase food security, improve rural livelihood and reducing crop losses.
In the context of achieving this, CABI established a plant clinic network to better connect farmer with plant doctor and get advice to to prevent crop problems and get recommendations to better handle and fight crop diseases.
Farmers receive help at plant clinics by national extension staff, trained as plant doctor by CABI where they learn methods to identify any problem on crop. This extension-led program helps also farmers to gain confidence in pursuing agriculture in a very profitable that prevents and reduces crop losses thus increase yield and income while protecting crop health.
Plant clinics work like clinics for humans: farmers visit a clinic with samples of their crops. Plant doctors diagnose the problem and make science-based recommendations on ways to manage it. This has proven more sufficient to help farmers lose less, and grow more.
Maybe, one day, we will not only reduce 1% of the crop losses that could feed millions, but 100% of the losses, feeding feed a billion…
Blogpost by Fred Shema, shemfred08(at)gmail.com, #AASW7 social reporter.
This post represents the author’s views only.
Picture courtesy CIAT