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Negussie: Role of plant health clinics in enhancing adaptive capacity to climate induced plant health problems: Experiences from Kenya
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Negussie: Role of plant health clinics in enhancing adaptive capacity to climate induced plant health problems: Experiences from Kenya


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  • 1. Role of plant health clinics in enhancing adaptive capacity to climate induced plant health problems: Experiences from Kenya Negussie E, P. Karanja, D. Romney, C. Muriithi, R. Kamau, E. Boa, N. Zombe, R. Wanjiku, N. Murage, M. Mulaa, R. Day and J. Mutisya   CABI Africa
  • 2. Introduction
    • Changing climate & weather variability have impacts on trends & distribution of pests/diseases,
          • creating new threats to farmers.
    • Adaptive capacity is needed to detect & quickly respond to new pest problems.
    • Most African countries however lack early detection and rapid response systems for new or changing pest problems.
    • Interventions by public extension are often inflexible and do not enable smallholders to cope with unpredictable changes & emerging challenges.
    • The majority of small-scale farmers do not have access to adequate and timely advice on how to handle existing or emerging plant health problems (Bentley, 2009).
  • 3. Introduction ...
    • Different actors are poorly linked:
        • Affecting flow of information, coordination and effectiveness of service delivery.
    • Plant health clinics, an initiative by the Global Plant Clinic (GPC) alliance led by CABI, emerged (from 2002) as a response to these gaps/limitations.
    • Since 2003, plant health clinics have been established in several developing countries
  • 4. What are plant health clinics and how do they operate?
    • PHCs are community based public service delivering demand-driven advice to farmers
        • are run by trained agronomists or extension workers at public places
        • have basic facilities – table, chairs, shade, reference books, photos
        • can be integrated to existing structures and activities
    • Farmers bring samples of their ailing crops for diagnosis, and often leave with recommendation/advice.
    • The recommendations incorporate scientific and indigenous knowledge
          • are adapted to specific local conditions
    • Clinic data also provide information on changing status of pests/diseases
        • providing early warning of emerging threats.
  • 5.
    • Clinic staff diagnosis and respond rapidly to a demand
    • The farmer brings her problems to the clinic
      • Samples
    • And receives advice/ recommendations, immediately
  • 6. The need to move towards creating a plant health system
      • The initiative is based on the understanding that capacity to adapt is not just a function of individuals or organisations,
        • but of the whole system and
        • how its parts interact and perform sustainably.
    • Thus the clinics need to be connected as part of a more integrated plant health system.
        • Has to be linked to other actors and services.
        • This would help to provide effective services more sustainably
  • 7. Initiation of the Kenyan plant health clinics
    • Over 80 plant clinics became operational in different
    • African, Asian and Latin American countries
    • Encouraging results from the previous plant clinics led to
    • the initiation of the current Kenyan scheme
        • – towards mid 2010.
    • The aim is to establish PHCs and provide farmers with
    • regular and reliable access to locally relevant advice on
    • management of plant health problems caused by climate
    • change & other drivers.
    • Also aims to support establishment of a more effective
    • national plant health system that can provide farmers
    • with quality advice more effectively and sustainably.
  • 8.  
  • 9. Processes in rolling out PHC in Kenya and achievements
    • 20 plant clinics were established in 10 districts of Kenya in 6 months.
    • Various governmental, CBOs and private organizations have been involved.
    • Key processes and stages in rolling out the plant clinics were:
      • Identification of partners/clinic organizations;
      • briefing and consultative meetings with partners;
      • nomination of staff to be trained and operate plant clinics;
      • training of plant doctors;
      • joint planning (where, how many, by whom, when to run plant clinics, etc)
      • running plant clinics;
      • publicity through various local channels;
      • monitoring and backstopping
      • facilitating information and experience sharing.
  • 10. Clinic sessions held, queries received & outreach
    • Plant clinics are run by one or more organizations.
    • The majority were operating weekly or fortnightly at fixed places
    • Some sessions were held during field days, exhibitions, agri shows, etc.
    • Over 248 sessions were held in about six months (table 1).
    • Had wide outreach:
        • Close to 5000 queries received on various plant health problems.
        • Farmers from over 240 villages visited 4 of the clinics in 6 month.
        • Early studies indicate that each clinic serves around 2000 people.
        • Plant health problems brought to clinics vary from clinic to clinic based on:
            • locations, agro-ecology and the value farmers attach to the crops.
  • 11. Table 1. No. of clinics established, sessions held and queries received (June 2010 - January 2011) Clinic district No. of clinics started No. of clinic sessions held No. of queries received Clinics running organization Nakuru North 4 38 >189 MoA Machakos 3 50 382 MoA + CBO Kikuyu 3 13 94 MoA Kirinyaga 2 14 104 MoA Embu 2 24 249 MoA (+KARI+KEPHIS) Mukurwe-ini 1 14 >80 MoA Transnzoia, Kwanza and Bungoma 4 92 2972 2 CBOs (+KARI) Meru 1 3 22 Private company Total 20 248 >4092
  • 12. Table 2. Crops received in three clinic clusters in the first six months Crop Number of queries presented to the clinics Embu Kitale 1 (Dajopen) Kitale 2 ( Killi SH) Maize 45 286 24 Kales 22 197 15 Beans 15 192 8 Tomatoes 13 217 19 Bananas 29 74 9 Fruits (Avocado, orange, passion, mango, pawpaw) 1 20 Irish potato 11 51 3 Cabbage 68 4 Night shade 40 14 Coffee 35 7 Spinach 38 2 Cow peas 34 14 Watermelon and pumpkin 8 29 Cassava 12 14 Sweet potato 16 6 Onion 12 4 Finger millet 10 1 Ground nut 8 5 Capsicum 10 Sugar cane 8 2 Others 23 >105 >15
  • 13. Role of plant clinics in identifying new pests and diseases
    • Clinic records provide invaluable information about the status of existing and emerging pests and diseases
        • are instrumental in maintaining vigilance.
        • E.g. Maize rough dwarf virus
    • Previous experience shows that 40 new diseases had been discovered and confirmed by the GPC from 22 countries (Boa and Reeder, 2009),
    • Information on emerging plant health issues can be used to:
        • inform research
        • facilitate rapid responses from regulatory bodies and extension agencies
        • thus help to effectively manage new pests/diseases as well as to curb the spread of existing ones.
  • 14. Table 3: Crop pests/diseases brought to some of the clinics in the first six months Crop health problems diagnosed Frequency of query Embu Kitale 1 (Dajopen) Kitale 2 (Killi SH) Insects + bird damage (on various crops) 3 228 42 Maize head smut 47 14 Banana Fusarium wilt 8 10 5 MSV & stalkborer 11 17 Blights (on various crops) 12 10 Bacterial infection (on various crops) 3 18 12 Mildews (various crops) 9 4 Leaf spot 19 1 CBD 5 Black rot (Cabbage and kale) 2 5 Bean anthracnose 2 Abiotic factors (various) 51 4 Viral infection (on various crops) 27 Rust 14 Cassava mosaic 11 Nematodes 5
  • 15.  
  • 16. Role of plant clinics in adapting to effects of climate change
    • Build capacity at community and national levels through:
        • training, provision of relevant advice, technical support, and creation of networks.
    • Experience shows that plant clinics and plant healthcare system:
        • can provide community level adaptation mechanism to cope with the changes in pest risks caused by the changing climate and other drivers
        • builds adaptive capacity through provision of timely, and location specific information and effective advices,
          • to enable the community take relevant adaptation actions
        • are also useful in maintaining effective vigilance among the community,
          • serving as early warning mechanism
          • contributing to national surveillance initiatives.
  • 17. Role contd...
        • Information generated by clinics play vital role in driving demand-led innovation and adaptation interventions.
        • enabling research, extension, regulatory bodies and others to respond to farmers’ priority problems/threats
        • both scientific & indigenous knowledge are recognised in providing advices
    • Help farmers to use environment friendly inputs & avoid excessive and indiscriminate use of agro-chemicals.
  • 18.
      • limited technical capacity among some local staff running plant clinics;
      • trained extension staff transfer, and overwhelming assignments
      • tendency to view the activity as a project;
      • some organizations struggled to effectively integrate plant clinics to their existing activities/budget;
      • limited publicity for the clinics;
      • Limitations in effectively linking clinics to other services – eg. diagnostic labs.
    Challenges and constraints in implementing PHCs in Kenya
  • 19. Lessons learnt and conclusions
    • Community based PHCs have proved to be invaluable source of advice,
        • helping farmers to manage plant health problems
        • help national agencies to monitor and timely respond to emerging changes & risks of crop pests as a result of CC & other factors.
    • PHCs can provide early warning system of the effects of CC on plant health
    • Help to tap and build on local potential and IK in addressing impacts of climate change and other emerging problems.
        • can serve as an interface between community’s emerging responses and national responses,
    • Play vital role in promoting locally relevant, affordable and environmentally friendly practices and technologies.
    • Effective integration of plant clinics into existing institutional structures and establishment of strong plant healthcare system are crucial
  • 20. Thank you for your attention! Email: [email_address]