So, what’s the problem
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.
What is this project doing?
Plantwise is a global programme led by CABI, which helps farmers lose less of what they grow to plant health problems. Working closely with national agricultural advisory services, we have established a global plant clinic network, run by trained plant doctors, where farmers can find practical plant health advice. Plant clinics work just like clinics for human health: farmers visit with samples of their crops, and plant doctors diagnose the problem and make science-based recommendations on ways to manage it.
The plant clinic network is reinforced by the Plantwise Knowledge Bank, a gateway to practical online and offline plant health information, including diagnostic resources, best-practice pest management advice and plant clinic data analysis for targeted crop protection. Together, these two unique resources are part of the Plantwise approach to strengthen national plant health systems. The stronger the national plant health system, the better equipped the country will be to help farmers provide a safe and sustainable food supply and improve their livelihoods.
For more information about the programme, visit www.plantwise.org
Plantwise has had a positive impact on the lives of over 50 million smallholder farmers in Asia, Africa and the Americas, by contributing to improved plant health management, leading to increased yields and income. The programme has achieved this by strengthening the capacity of extension staff to deliver quality plant health advice through plant clinics and complementary extension approaches, and by strengthening the linkages between plant health system stakeholders, leading to better targeting and coordination of farmer support. Plantwise has also contributed to the detection of at least eight new pests, such as the fall armyworm and tomato leaf miner, in several countries around the world. In addition, Plantwise Knowledge Bank resources are highly valued by thousands of individuals. Regarding sustainability, there are promising signs of the institutionalization and scaling up of Plantwise-supported approaches in a number of countries, by both public and private sector agencies.
2020 marked the end of all major funding contracts for Plantwise. A thorough sustainability assessment was conducted across all active countries which indicated that, in most countries, elements such as plant clinics and plant doctor training are likely to continue running, as are adapted data management systems in a few countries and the use of social media apps to support advice delivery on plant health.
PlantwisePlus was launched in 2021. PlantwisePlus is an evolution of Plantwise and has been designed to further support, as well as mainstream, strategic elements of the former programme into the new programme. It will provide backstopping to strategic elements of Plantwise.
For more information about the programme’s impact, visit www.plantwise.org/impact