Participatory assessment of farm level outcomes and impact of crops pests and diseases management
Published: November, 2016
This study assesses the impact of the Plantwise programme through the measurement of the changes at economic and human capital level within selected farming communities. The impact is measured through the use of qualitative methods in the form of focus groups discussions (FGDs) and key informant interviews (KIIs).
This study finds that farmers that use plant clinics have increased their awareness, knowledge and capacity to identify and manage pests and diseases with respect to non-users of plant clinics. In particular, clinic users have better capacity to identify signs of pests and diseases and can provide a more detailed list of signs.
In terms of adoption of practices, in both countries plant clinic users appear to have a wide range of responses for decision making possibly due to greater access to more control options. Yet, clinic users have more informed decisions when implementing an intervention and in general are able to articulate the rationale behind their choices.
Crop rotation, timely planting, use of resistant varieties are some of the practices that farmers have more regularly adopted after consultation with plant clinics in Rwanda. In Ghana, Integrated pest management in form of use of organic pesticide seems to be prerogative of clinic users, together with early planting, use of resistant varieties and time of weeding.
Efficient use of pesticides, knowledge of pesticides and use of the right dosage of pesticides is declared by key informants to be have been largely improved by clinic users after consultation with clinics. Yet, clinic users have also reduced the use of pesticide in favour of use of nonchemicals, such as ashes and neem for example.
In Rwanda the overall assessment of all clinic users and non-clinic users revealed that clinic users performed better with respect to productivity of rice, maize and beans. There was a statistically significant difference in the yield of maize (8.5tons/ha vs 4.8tons/ha) and a highly significant difference in the yield of rice between users and non-users (8.1tons/ha vs 5.6tons/ha); in Ghana non-users perform better for groundnut (0.3tons/ha vs 0.4tons/ha) and cowpea (0.3tons/ha vs 0.6tons/ha), whilst users perform better for maize (1.4tons/ha vs 1.0tons/ha).
In Rwanda for maize (2,467USD/ha vs 860 USD/ha) and rice (2,241USD/ha vs 1,561USD/ha) we found statistically significant differences between the net value per ha of clinic users vs clinic non-users, with the last ones that have lower net value per ha. No significant difference is recorded when looking at the performance of women and men separately; in Ghana for cowpea (322.2USD/ha vs 405.1USD/ha), groundnut (164.3USD/ha vs 264.7USD/ha), and maize (127.0USD/ha vs 273.3USD/ha), the net value per ha was higher for non-users than for users, however this difference was not statistically significant.
From a methodological point of view, with the use of qualitative methods we could capture the complexity of local dynamics behind differences between clinic users and non-users. However, additional research should be undertaken with quantitative methods to provide a more solid statistical basis for data collection and means of comparison between clinic users and non-users.