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Sunday, October 6, 2013

CABI says 40% food lost to diseases annually, establishes plant clinics

Anthony Nwakaegho/NaijaAgroNet

United Kindgom-based Center for Agriculture and Biosciences International (CABI) has said that despite the advances made in science and technology, crop disease continues to plague farmers everywhere as 40 per cent of the food grown worldwide is lost to pests and diseases before it could be consumed. 

This postulation was made by CABI while trying to change the trend through a crop protection programme called Plantwise, maintaining, there are about 90 of these clinics in Uganda, while this year donors spent $290,000 about N46, 907,501.64 training plant doctors and expanding the system in the country.
NaijaAgroNet learnt from CABI that it has trained nearly a thousand plant doctors in 24 countries, including one near Kampala, Uganda since 2010  and set up Plantwise clinics in 12 African countries - nine in East Africa and  three in West Africa.

One of the trained plant Doctors, according to a press statement from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Daniel Lyazi on arrival in Mukono, a village about 15 kilometers from Kampala to set up a clinic discovered that there is no remedy for the diseased plant samples that people bring to the clinic while the farmers have been using the wrong insecticide.
“I’m recommending the use of another insecticide called Fenkill, and in another planting season they should plant with onions. Onions can repel the caterpillar and so they can get income,” he said.
The head of a local farmers’ group, Erifazi Mayanja, said that they are really benefiting from the twice-a-month clinic, which started last year as Lyazi’s recommendations may save the next season’s crop by inter-planting onions between the rows of cabbages as an additional protection measure.

The Coordinator the Plantwise program in Uganda and Zambia, Joseph Mulema opined that plant clinics are far more effective model for getting advice to farmers than the traditional one where agricultural extension workers, in theory, visit farms. 

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