Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Technology transfer’ Category

Plant Doctors in Vietnam go digital

Group photo

Plant clinics in Vietnam have received a major boost with the introduction of digital devices to facilitate the work of plant doctors. The use of tablets and smartphones has been proven to help plant doctors improve the quantity and quality of data generated from plant clinic operations. With improved ICTs, the captured data from plant clinics can be added swiftly to the Plantwise Online Management Systems (POMS) and managed from one device. Prior to this, plant clinic operations were dependent on a paper-based system of recording pest and disease data provided by farmers during clinics.

Earlier this month, an E-plant Clinic Pilot Workshop commenced at the Vietnam Academy of Agriculture and Sciences (VAAS), Hanoi. ICT intervention for the country is funded by the Crop Health and Protection (CHAP) and training was inaugurated in Hanoi by Dr Dao The Anh, Vice President of VAAS.

A total of 22 experienced plant doctors and 3 data managers from 4 provinces, had been nominated to launch this new approach. Plantwise distributed 15 tablets to plant doctors in 12 operational regions. These devices were pre-loaded with Plantwise apps to help plant doctors gain quick and easy access to reference materials, such as Pest Management and Decision Guides (PMDGs), fact sheets, and educational games, among other online and offline resources.

The training was facilitated by Ms. Claire Curry and Dr. Manju Thakur, from CABI’s Plantwise Knowledge Bank team. The National Coordinator for Plantwise Vietnam, Dr Tran Danh Suu, said he will be able to monitor the flow of plant clinic data and plant clinic activities using this new ICT. All the plant doctors in training were keen and excited to work on this new approach to the extension system in Vietnam.

20180314_111751

  • Share

Read Full Post »

How does communication and its technical content shape farmer responses to plant clinic advice?

P1020373

A recent study led by CABI and published in International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, explores how communication and its technical content shape farmers’ response to advice delivered at plant clinics. How willing were farmers to accept or reject the technologies recommended at plant clinic consultations? And what were the reasons? The research was carried out in Malawi, Costa Rica and Nepal, with the team visiting one plant clinic in each country.

PlantClinicMalawi
In Malawi, Violet (right) spends a long time listening, and explaining her recommendation to the farmer, Joseph.

Advice given in plant clinics in all three sites was found to be generally clear and open with plant doctors speaking in the local language in a respectful and accessible manner. This was followed up with a written ‘prescription’ which outlined a number of options for a single problem (consistent with IPM principles). This allowed farmers to choose their preferred recommendation, even if it was intended as more of a to-do list rather than a “menu” of choices. The written prescription ensures that the communication is lasting after farmers leave the clinic; not only does it enable farmers to remember the advice but they can also take the prescription to suppliers when buying pesticides. Clinics, therefore were found to have engaged in sound didactic teaching (where the required theoretical knowledge is provided); once the farmers had received their prescription, they were able to subject those recommendations to further environmental learning (e.g. experimenting with new techniques) back home.

NepalCoupon
A handwritten recommendation in Nepal which can be taken to suppliers.

 

 

 

As  extensionists became plant doctors, they had to quickly adapt to diagnosing plant health problems on dozens of crop species and provide sound advice on multiple pests and diseases. This is a huge challenge. Earlier studies indicate that plant clinics did not consistently give accurate diagnoses or recommendations. In this study, there were relatively few misdiagnoses or gross errors of communication. In addition, the plant doctors were able to contact experts to help improve their diagnoses via digital platforms such as WhatsApp or Facebook groups.

Farmer responses to the clinic advice proved too complex to be labelled dichotomous (accept/reject). Their decisions are more nuanced, based generally on the fit of the technology and how well the innovation was communicated.  The research did discover problems with the communications and recommended ways in which it could be improved, for example:

  • The Plantwise prescription forms include a number of tick boxes which facilitate data input after the consultation. However this is not of much use to the farmers and leaves only a small section for the recommendation. Not all plant doctors remember to write down the diagnosis. The forms could be improved, making them easier to read and printing them in the local language rather than in English.
  • Problems with terminology were identified, such as using units of measure (e.g. grams or millilitres) that farmers find difficult to replicate at home without the right equipment. In addition, it was difficult for them to extrapolate further information from this, such as how much they should dilute the chemicals. Measurements must always be communicated in volumes that rural people understand such as a ‘spoonful’ rather than 15ml.
FarmerCostaRica1
In Costa Rica, Don Gerardo grows ginger
plants under his blackberries to control pests

Farmers learn from other people such as plant doctors or fellow farmers, but in addition, they are also actively experimenting with the advice they receive. Experimenting and learning from others are complementary and is part of the process of developing novel techniques that work for each farmer. What is fundamental for farmers is harvesting a healthy and profitable crop. This means that while the research can ascertain whether technologies were adapted (or not) and why, it doesn’t necessarily define whether the crop problems were actually solved. More research is required to understand not only which options farmers accept from plant clinics but also the extent to which these solved farmers’ problems. As the the research surmises, ‘odds are that farmers temper outsiders’ advice for technical reasons, not because of mis-communication.’

Read Farmer responses to technical advice offered at plant clinics in Malawi, Costa Rica and Nepal in full with open access →

Read the country reports in full, including individual testimonies and photos:

 

Read Full Post »

Autor: Eduardo Augusto Neves Reconocimiento a: Marieta Cervantes y Fernando Escobal, INIA Baños del Inca Ing. Marieta Eliana Cervantes Peralta, doctora de plantas de la estación experimental de INIA ‘Baños del Inca’ en Cajamarca, Perú, conoce bien la realidad de las mujeres rurales. Hija de campesinos, vivió su niñez y adolescencia en una comunidad rural […]

via Empoderamiento de la mujer a través de las clínicas de planta del Perú — The Plantwise Blog

Read Full Post »

The Plantwise Blog

 

New coalition puts knowledge and skills into the hands of those who need it

ipm-blogbanner-rice

CABI has joined forces with the ISEAL Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Coalition in the fight to implement better, less chemical-dependent, ways for farmers to manage agricultural pests and diseases that account for around 40% of lost crops worldwide. By linking with the Plantwise Knowledge Bank, the coalition aims to share knowledge on sustainable pest management strategies, strengthen knowledge exchanges on alternative methods for pest management, as well as identifying and focusing on specific pest-disease.

Cambria Finegold, Global Director, Knowledge Management, at CABI, said, “One of the ways in which CABI works to help the 500 million smallholder farmers around the world grow more and lose less is to present them with the latest knowledge and advise on how to tackle devastating pest and diseases. “Our partnership with the ISEAL IPM Coalition is a major step forward in disseminating the very best in information and expertise into the hands of those who need it to grow healthy and sustainable crops but also protect their livelihoods.”

Other areas of cooperation as part of the new agreement includes exploring the possibilities to train Plantwise plant doctors  on sustainability standards and promote the exchange of knowledge and experiences on integrated pest management. The partnership will also explore the possibilities to implement pest-specific integrated pest management events and workshops as well as sharing examples of good practice and alternatives to pesticides.

For the IPM coalition, the technical and field experience of nine standard systems covering many countries and diverse production systems combined with Plantwise’s rich information about alternative pest control methods provide a great opportunity for technicians of farms, fields and forests to responsibly offer the best available information for least toxic chemical or non-chemical pest control methods. The dissemination of this upgraded information package to thousands of stakeholders of the IPM coalition members will not only lead to transparent information about sustainable pest management, but most importantly contribute to a more informed selection of pest control alternatives with the least environmental and human impacts.

The IPM Integrated Pest Management Coalition is composed by ISEAL Alliance members: Better Cotton InitiativeBonsucroFairtrade InternationalForest Stewardship CouncilGlobal Coffee PlatformRoundtable on Sustainable BiomaterialsGolf Environment OrganizationSustainable Agriculture Network and Rainforest Alliance. The overall long term goal of the coalition is to reduce or eliminate the use of Highly Hazardous Pesticides and to achieve a significant reduction of pesticide risks to health and the environment with effective standard and certification system’s tools.

For more information on the coalition, visit http://www.ipm-coalition.org

  • Share

Read Full Post »

by Sathis Sri Thanarajoo. Reblogged from CCAFS: CGIAR News blog. The Pest Smart program aims to enable farmers, particularly women and marginalized groups, to become resilient against potential pests and diseases outbreaks due to climate change. The Pest Smart program promotes the adoption of climate-smart practices that manage pests and diseases, and empowers women to be actively […]

via Women farmers in Ekxang Village equipped with pest-smart practices against pest and disease outbreaks — The Plantwise Blog

Read Full Post »

CABI

The Plantwise Blog

by Kate Dey

https://blog.plantwise.org/2017/08/18/gender-and-agricultural-extension/

A woman farmer harvesting tea in Indonesia (CC0 Public Domain).

 

Read Full Post »

Chicago council logo

globaL FOOD FOR THOUGHT 1

August 17, 2017 | By Maddie Poole

Guest Commentary – The New Wave of Agricultural Extension

From the agriculturists of the Zhou dynasty who educated farmers 2,000 years ago, to Peace Corps volunteers educating farmers on soil management practices today, agricultural extension services have served as a vital tool in spreading critical knowledge to farmers—helping them produce more profitable harvests, and ultimately, escape poverty and hunger. However, many extension programs—where they exist at all—are failing to reach smallholder farmers in a way that is effective in spreading scientific research to better agricultural productivity.

Extension programs face a variety of obstacles that restrict them from having the largest possible impact. According to a study conducted in southwestern Ethiopia, many extension workers lack practical skills, and they only cater to farmers who are financially stable. Another study in Democratic Republic of Congo pointed out that extension programs “fail to deliver knowledge due to lack of coordination, no unified and clear policy mandate, lack of funding, aging and low competencies of agents, and lack of mobility and interactions of agents with key actors.” Aside from those factors, poor rural infrastructure in low-income countries has affected transport, communication, and markets on which extension programs depend.

While some farmers deal with flawed extension systems, many have no system to rely on at all, and the everyday challenges traditional extension programs face have forced governments to rely on other ways to educate farmers. This means that without quality, formal extension, farmers have to rely on either word-of-mouth or literature to supply them with crucial information. Unfortunately, a large percentage of smallholder farmers in developing countries are illiterate, making obtaining this information even harder. In India, over 32 percent of the rural population is illiterate, and that number is expected to be even higher among farmers. In Burkina Faso, the Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger and Senegal literacy rates are below 50 percent.

Without literature as a viable tool to help farmers thrive, agricultural extensionists have begun to explore a new way to spread crucial information: digital animations. The concept of videos to portray information to farmers is not necessarily new; videos demonstrating agricultural concepts have been around since the invention of the video camera. For instance, in Bangladesh, videos on rice seed management, released in 2007, helped over 70 percent of women improve their rice seed drying practices. However, normal video footage cannot show microscopic activity. Digital animation is helpful here because it can illustrate agricultural issues on a microscopic level. Through this technology, farmers are able to learn about pathogens, spore production, and fungal parasites that may inhibit plant growth.

Today, there are several organizations that are producing digital animations for extension, one being Scientific Animations without Borders, or SAWBO.  SAWBO, which was founded in 2011 by Bary Pittendrigh and Julia Bello-Bravo of the University of Illinois, was created to “transform extension information on relevant topics such as agriculture, disease, and female empowerment, into 2D, 2.5D, and 3D animations.” Their videos cover a variety of topics, including row planting of teff, drip irrigation, solar treating of cow-pea seeds, and preventing post-harvest loss, just to name a few. All of their videos can be viewed on their website in their video library. SAWBO relies heavily on collaboration from a variety of global actors including universities, farmers, and everyday people to create these videos. The diversity within these collaborations ensures that the videos are palatable to a variety of audiences. Today, with over 50 animations translated in over 90 different languages, SAWBO has reached millions of farmers worldwide.

In a world where over 75 percent of the global population has a mobile phone, accessing such videos is quite simple. Animations can be downloaded and displayed on computers, tablets, televisions, cellphones, and overhead projection systems from websites such as YouTube. They are deployed all over the world from organizations and everyday people alike. SAWBO, for one, highly encourages the reproduction and distribution of their videos for educational purposes at no cost. They even offer a credit card USB drive that contains over 10GB of SAWBO videos that people can carry and share with ease.

If we want to achieve global food security, the methods by which information is spread to farmers need to be revamped. Fortunately, a world that is constantly advancing technologically makes this possible. It is evident that easily accessible and highly understandable videos have transformed the face of agricultural extension. While there is still a long road ahead to achieve global food security, digital animations hold promise in educating farmers for generations to come.

About

The Global Food and Agriculture Program aims to inform the development of US policy on global agricultural development and food security by raising awareness and providing resources, information, and policy analysis to the US Administration, Congress, and interested experts and organizations.

The Global Food and Agriculture Program is housed within the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, an independent, nonpartisan organization that provides insight – and influences the public discourse – on critical global issues. The Council on Global Affairs convenes leading global voices and conducts independent research to bring clarity and offer solutions to challenges and opportunities across the globe. The Council is committed to engaging the public and raising global awareness of issues that transcend borders and transform how people, business, and governments engage the world.

Support for the Global Food and Agriculture Program is generously provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »