Plant clinic data management: An assessment of the use, management and functioning of the Myanmar Plantwise Data Management System
Published: August, 2017
This report presents the findings of a study carried out in Myanmar in order to: 1. understand how plant clinic data are managed, perceived and used by partners; 2. identify key challenges and opportunities for improving systems for plant clinic data management and use; and 3. identify key criteria and variables for future assessments of data management systems. The report is part of a larger study covering two countries: Kenya (where the first CABI supported plant clinics started operations in 2010) and Myanmar (first CABI supported plant clinics started in 2014).
In a period of two weeks in December 2016, the research team spoke with about 50 people, who are either technically or organisationally engaged in the Plantwise Myanmar (PW-M) data management system (DMS). Through in-depth interviews and focus group discussions (FGDs) their perceptions, motivations and incentives were discussed with regard to their institutional mandates in general, and their role in the Plantwise DMS in particular. They were also asked about their views on the benefits and challenges of the DMS. The qualitative data were complemented with quantitative data retrieved from the Plantwise Online Management System (POMS).
In order to obtain a complete picture of the factors that influence the effective use and management of plant clinic data, ideally the views and perceptions of actors engaged in all DMS stages – data collection, processing and sharing/use – should be assessed. In this study, the majority of respondents were actors involved in the first stage. This was purposefully done, to gain detailed insight in the data collection stage, as Plantwise activities in Myanmar had been rolled out relatively recently with a focus on the establishment of plant clinics and training of plant doctors. In practice this meant that we mainly spoke with plant doctors and the people coordinating and managing extension work at regional levels
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.