Are integrated crop-livestock clinics an option for Kenyan smallholder farmers to address One Health issues?
Published: September, 2023
The majority of smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa rely on both crops and animals for their livelihoods. However, the scarcity of farmer advisory services leaves them with insufficient knowledge about crop and animal health, as well as the wider health issues emanating from farming. There is a need for adapted, innovative services to meet the needs of smallholders. CABI’s long-standing work with plant clinics sparked new ideas on how to better serve smallholder farmers by including animal advice in the clinics. This, in turn, revealed a potential to explore ‘One Health benefits’ of such an integrated service. Uganda began piloting crop-livestock clinics in 2021, and Kenya followed in 2022. Before launching the Kenyan pilot, a study was conducted to ascertain farmers’: (i) awareness of ‘One Health issues’ related to crops and animals, (ii) information needs on crop and livestock farming, and (iii) perceptions on joint crop-livestock clinics as a new type of integrated farmer service.
Joint crop-livestock clinics have the potential to augment conventional extension service delivery and help address knowledge gaps highlighted in this study. In addition to being a one-stop-centre for farmer advice, these integrated clinics present an opportunity to disseminate accurate information on One Health topics relevant to smallholder farmers, and to inform joint action with other sectors, such as public health and environment.
Crop and livestock health is crucial to agricultural productivity and farmer livelihoods. However, in low-income countries, smallholders are often left without sufficient support to deal with crop and animal problems due to existing agricultural extension services being understaffed and underfunded. CABI’s work in plant health and plant clinics over the last 15 years has revealed potential ‘One Health’ (OH) benefits of broadening the scope of plant clinics to better meet farmers’ need for advice. This project will develop integrated crop-livestock health advisory services that will enable male and female smallholder farmers in Uganda to address major health and production problems affecting crops, livestock, and food safety.
Start: 01/01/21 -End: 31/12/24