CABI is working in partnership to deliver a ‘One Health’ approach to advisory services which will help 1,200 smallholder farmers in Uganda deal with major health and production problems affecting their crops, livestock and food safety.
The project will develop integrated crop-livestock health advisory services for both male and female smallholder farmers – building upon CABI’s 15-years’ experience of providing plant health information through Plantwise plant clinics.
The joint clinics and consultations will broaden the scope of existing plant clinics to help better meet the farmers’ needs for agricultural advice and will contribute to the overall goal of improving the health and livelihoods of smallholder farming families in East Africa.
The project builds upon a previous study to assess demand for livestock services during plant clinic sessions in selected countries including Kenya and Uganda. The current work is being funded by the Biovision Foundation and carried out in collaboration with VSF International in Kenya, Makerere University, the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) as well as the District Local Governments of Mukono, Luwero, Buikwe and Kayunga in Uganda.
The ‘One Health’ is envisaged to be cost efficient in joint service delivery and will lead to enhanced knowledge and awareness of farmers on the inter-dependence of crops and livestock for productivity, health and food safety. It is anticipated that the project will strengthen the crop-livestock health advisory system among plant and livestock outreach services and explore the possibilities of expanding the model to farmers in Kenya following on from lessons learnt as part of the pilot study in Uganda.
The project’s key activities involve collecting farmer baseline information and practices on the One Health principle, establishing and operationalizing 80 joint crop-livestock clinics and consultation sessions in the four districts of Uganda, training crop and animal health officers in identified One Health topics and providing relevant information materials for farmers and veterinary staff on One Health topics.
Other activities will include assessing farmers’ demand for livestock advice at plant clinics in Kenya and sharing experiences from the Uganda pilot with relevant crop-livestock stakeholders in Kenya to pilot crop-livestock clinics and consultations in Kenya.
Christine Alokit, CABI Communication and Extension Scientist based at the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) Secretariat in Uganda, said, “The Platform for Agricultural Risk Management (PARM) identified pests and diseases in crops and livestock among the most important constraints to agricultural productivity in several African countries, including Uganda.
“Some of the causes include insufficient crop and livestock extension officers and vets, limited awareness and knowledge among farmers of crop and livestock health management, a lack of practical and actionable solutions for farmers and poor soil fertility and crop/livestock nutrient management.
“CABI’s work with plant clinics has highlighted potential One Health – cross-sectoral, value-added action to solve inter-related problems – benefits of broadening their scope in order to better meet farmers’ demands for agricultural advice.
“We will test how, and under what circumstances, such a farmer service can operate effectively and with what benefits. The outcome will support the development of an integrated clinic model that adds value to existing farmer services.”
Already, One Health crop-livestock clinics and consultations have been launched at the project sites and districts in Uganda with a range of operational strategies and priorities agreed upon. These include no livestock to be brought to the joint consultation sessions to avoid the risk of fast disease spread, crowdsourcing of information materials for farmers and extension, a plan of training of joint clinic staff in selected One Health topics and data management as well as learning from the current One Health initiative operated at the Ugandan Ministry of Health and other initiatives.
Main photo: Plant clinics play a key role in the delivery of integrated crop-livestock health advisory services for smallholder farmers in Uganda (Credit: Benius Tukahirwa, MAAIF).
Find out more about CABI’s work towards ‘Joint crop and livestock services for smallholder farmers in Uganda’ from the project page.
See also the paper ‘Reaching for the low hanging fruits: One health benefits of joint crop–livestock services for small-scale farmers,’ by Danielsen et al published in the journal One Health, June 2019.