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The Role of Plantwise in Improving Detection and Action on Pest Situations

Published: August, 2020

Book chapter

Lorna Migiro, Washington Otieno

Agriculture is a vital sector for many countries in Africa. It is an important source of employment and constitutes the primary source of export earnings. Among the constraints to agricultural production is damage caused by pests. The detection of new pests, or of a new host for an existing pest, or the spread of an existing pest to a new location, has significant implications in crop production and trade. Agricultural advisory models, such as the CABI-led Plantwise programme, enable early detection of pests, thereby providing an opportunity for prompt action to be taken by responsible plant protection authorities. These circumstances also present opportunities for researchers to develop methods for pest management. Plantwise supports agricultural extension systems provided by governments in developing countries to assist smallholder farmers with access to advice and information needed to sustainably manage plant health problems. It works through networks of plant clinics run by specially trained extension officers, called ‘plant doctors’. Plant clinics are reinforced by the Plantwise Knowledge Bank, an online and off-line interactive resource with information on pest diagnosis, management and distribution. Plantwise works through partnerships with relevant actors in the areas of extension, research, regulation and input supply. In the plant clinic model, a farmer brings a sample of affected plant and a plant doctor diagnoses the problem and gives advice. During this interaction, information on the farmer, plant health problem, and the recommendation given is recorded and is fed into a database. Plant clinics have show potential to enable early detection of pests, monitoring outbreaks and introductions, as well as changes in their status, based on the experiences with some of the merging pests such as Tuta absoluta, Spodoptera frugiperda, maize lethal necrosis diseases, and Napier stunt disease. The Plant clinic database is therefore useful for general surveillance and as a source of information for Pest Risk Analysis.

The Role of Plantwise in Improving Detection and Action on Pest Situations

Type Book chapter

Published in Chapter 14, pp. 245-251. In: Sustainable Management of Invasive Pests in Africa

Language English

Year 2020

Related projects


Worldwide, over 500 million smallholder farmers provide food for two-thirds of the earth’s growing population. Achieving a zero hunger world by 2030 depends on increasing the productivity of these smallholder farmers – but their crops face a significant threat. Yearly, an estimated 40% of crops grown worldwide are lost to pests. If we could reduce crop losses by just 1%, we could potentially feed millions more people. The lack of access to timely, appropriate and actionable extension advice makes it a fundamental challenge for farmers to get the right information at the right time to reduce crop losses.

Start: 01/01/11