Thousands of farmers in Burundi are looking forward to joining a global community of over 31 million smallholder farmers in Africa, Asia and the Americas who have been positively impacted by Plantwise.
The Institut des Sciences Agronomiques du Burundi (ISABU), the Plant Protection Department of the Ministry of the Environment, Agriculture and Livestock (MINEAGRIE) and CABI will join forces to establish a network of local plant clinics run by local agricultural extensions staff, newly trained as plant doctors. This comes after the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Bujumbura (EKN) and the Dutch Organisation for Internationalisation in Education (Nuffic) provided a combined €1.89 million funding for the introduction of Plantwise (including Plantwise capacity building and plant clinic networks) to support smallholder farmers in Burundi.
“The introduction of Plantwise in Burundi will be timely and aligns well with the National Agricultural Development Strategy in Burundi, and will greatly benefit our farmers. ISABU is honoured to be the lead implementing institution,” said Dr Niyokwishimira Alfred, Director General of Institut des Sciences Agronomiques du Burundi (ISABU).
During a 2-day stakeholder forum held between 8 and 9 March 2021, and graced by Dr Jan Willem Nibbering (Food and Nutritional Security Advisor at the Dutch Embassy in Bujumbura), 25 key representatives from Burundi’s plant health system familiarized themselves with the Plantwise programme and identified the critical stakeholders needed to successfully implement Plantwise activities. Those in attendance included several directors of MINEAGRIE including the Direction de la Protection des Végétaux (DPV), the Direction Générale de la Mobilisation à l’Auto développement et à la Vulgarisation Agricole Bureau Provincial de (DGMAVA -BPEAE), the Institut des Sciences Agronomiques du Burundi (ISABU), and the University Burundi.
The stakeholder forum will be followed by a training of the first set of 15 national trainers on Plantwise modules 1 (field diagnostics) and 2 (best practice delivery of advice to farmers) as well as on capturing data on pests and diseases together with pest management advise. These trainers will in turn be mentored when training their first ever Burundian cohort of 25 extension staff who will work directly with farmers at local plant clinics.
“We look forward to having more experts empowered with the knowledge to diagnose plant health problems, and to recommend actionable advice to our farmers who will better manage plant pests and diseases through the plant clinics,” added Dr Niyokwishimira.
The CABI team comprising Dr Willis Ochilo and Dr Stefan Toepfer as well as the director of ISABU later held discussions with the Permanent Secretary MINEAGRIE and the director generals of several key departments such as Plant Protection, Farmer sensibilisation, and Crop Production) on how to best implement the program. The Permanent Secretary welcomed the collaboration with CABI and pledged the support of the ministry in the successful delivery of the Plantwise initiative. Several directors expressed their wishes that Plantwise may train at least 10% of the roughly 3000 local agricultural extensionists as plant doctors as well as establish the related clinics at the community (Colline level) and at the district levels (commune levels). The first project on Plantwise is seen as a seed project before a potential roll out to the entire country.
Main image: Meeting with PS and several DGs from different departments of MINEAGRIE to discuss Plantwise (Credit: CABI).
Find out more:
About plant clinics https://www.plantwise.org/about/plant-clinics/
Burundi news on Plantwise https://rtnb.bi/fr/art.php?idapi=5/0/142
CABI welcomes Burundi’s Minister for Environment, Agriculture and Livestock and Ambassador to UK https://www.cabi.org/news-article/cabi-welcomes-burundis-minister-for-environment-agriculture-and-livestock-and-ambassador-to-uk/