Plants suffer from diseases like human and pets.You may be alarmed to learn that the diseases of plants caused great famines in the world. Irish Famine which was caused by the disease of potato called,Late blight of Potato.The pathogen which caused this disease is Phytophthora infestans.The great Bengal Famine of 1942 was caused by another plant disease,the Brown Spot of Rice.The causal organism of this disease is Bipolaris oryzae.
However,plants are also affected by pests like insects,mites,rodents,birds,snails etc. and conditions of soil like deficiency and excess of plant nutrients and variations in soil reactions.Courses are offered in universities to equip graduates to prevent or cure problems of pests,diseases and nutrient imbalance.We may call such graduates as Plant Doctors.Services of such Plant Doctors may be available in many developed countries who prescribe for garden plants especially flower,vegetables and landscape plants.In developing countries public research and extension agencies offer services to the farmers for plant disease management .Some international agencies also support services of plant doctors through funding and training.
Plantwise,an UK based international initiative has come forward to provide plant health services around the world.
Plantwise is gathering and disseminating knowledge in two ways: 1) via a network of plant clinics in the developing world to help the poorest farmers and 2) internationally via the Knowledge Bank.
Plant clinics – farmer interface and support system
Over half of the one billion hungry people in the world are smallholder farmers who rely entirely on their crops to feed their families. Plantwise helps developing countries set up and run community based plant clinics that deliver free plant health advice to these farmers. The clinics, staffed by ‘plant doctors’, are a lifeline for farmers helping them overcome plant health problems and improve their yields. Sometimes the clinics can mean the difference between having a modest surplus which can be sold and going hungry.
Plantwise helps developing countries establish an integrated plant health system, of which the clinics form a vital part.
Knowledge Bank – harnessing local knowledge
Plant doctors, extension workers and researchers all need access to the latest information in order to be able to best assist the farmer. Plantwise offers on-line diagnosis and treatment support information as well as practical on the ground training for potential plant doctors.
As a result of helping farmers Plantwise collects valuable data about plant pest and disease distribution that is shared with the participating countries. Working with the relevant NPPO (National Plant Protection Organization) Plantwise publishes validated pest and disease distribution data. This information, harnessed effectively, can form the basis of an early warning system alerting the plant health community to a change in distribution of existing pests/diseases or the threat of a disease in a new region.
The Plantwise Knowledge Bank helps with the local, national and regional fight against pests and diseases. In addition to local distribution data captured at the clinics Plantwise will capture data about new pests and diseases from scientists, published sources and official bodies, and map this information in greater detail than ever before.
Plantwise is a global programme, led by CABI, to improve food security and improve rural livelihoods by reducing crop losses.Currently Plantwise is operating in 31 countries and delivering its services through 413 plant clinics.These clinics have helped over 280,000 smallholder farmers and their families. Evaluation of Plantwise has revealed that it is a highly relevant, effective, efficient and well managed program.
You can get detailed information about the programs and activities of Plantwise in its website,http://www.plantwise.org
I am providing below a link of a video showing the services of Plant Doctor assisted by CABI Plantwise.I hope you will enjoy the video.
Plant clinics in Bangladesh
As a citizen of Bangladesh,I feel very fortunate to have the services of Plantwise in Bangladesh.I am citing some relevant information from the website of Plantwise to focus its activities in this country where agriculture plays very significant role in its economy.
To gain a better understanding of plant health problems, Rural Development Academy (RDA) and NGO’s Agricultural Advisory Society (AAS) and Shushilan have established 11 plant clinics in Natore, Bogra and Satkhira districts and Gazipur and Khulna.
The plant clinic approach was first introduced for farmers in Shahjahanpur upazila of Bogra district from 2004, in Baraigram upazila of Natore district by AAS from 2005, and in Kaliganj upazila of Satkhira district from 2006 under funding and technical support from CABI. The aim of the plant clinics was to:
- enhance crop production
- reduce production costs by avoiding frequent use of chemicals
- increase income
- remove the risk of crop failure due to pest and disease infestation,
- help to save the environment from pollution
A good monitoring system is essential to document clinic progress, assess the service quality, identify weaknesses and difficulties and define actions for continuous improvement. In 2008, a monitoring workshop in Satkhira with RDA, AAS and Shushilan was held as a first attempt to establish a simple monitoring system for the plant clinics.
The following link of Plantwise provides the resources of administering ‘Plant Doctor’ services in