A Study of Effects of Village Based Plant Clinic Service in Selected Regions of Ethiopia
Published: June, 2021
This study examined the effects of pest management advice given at village-based plant clinics in selected regions of Ethiopia on three key crops grown and brought to plant clinics in the study areas: maize, potato and tomato.
The results showed that while there is reduction in use of pesticides among farmers, which can be taken as a positive outcome, there has been an increasing trend in the use of other inputs such as fertilizer and improved seed varieties. Farmers demonstrated better knowledge and practices regarding pesticide use following the plant clinic visit, especially with regards to use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and disposal of empty pesticide containers. They also spent less on pesticides as they started adopting non-chemical pest management options. Indicative results reveal a significant increase in maize, tomato and potato yields and farmers’ income after visiting plant clinics, although this cannot be entirely attributed to plant clinics. The findings suggest that village-based plant clinics enhance farmers’ access to information on sustainable management of plant health problems resulting in increased farmer productivity and income.
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.