On 8/7/2014, two new Plant Clinics (PCs) in Chieng Xom commune- Son La city and Chieng Pan Commune, Yen Chau district, Son La province were opened for the first time and started their activity to serve the local farmers.
Present at the opening ceremony were Dr Tuat- Vice President of VAAS, the members of Plantwise Project in Vietnam, Dr. Duong Minh Tu- Director of Plant Quarantine Diagnostic Center (PQDC) - Plant Protection Department (PPD) of MARD, Mr. Ha Van Lan, Head of Sub-PPD Son La, plant doctors, representatives of local authorities and farmers.
These two new PCs are in the chain of 8 new PCs opened in July 2014 in Son La and in total 20 new PCs in the country opened in 6 provinces: Son La, Hung Yen, Vinh Phuc, Vinh Long, Tien Giang and Ben Tre this year.
The Project Plantwise Vietnam is sponsored by Center for Agricultural Bioscience International – CABI through CABI-SEA. The coordination organization is VAAS, cooperated with its member institutions PPRI, SOFRI and PQDC – PPD/ MARD. Last year, 20 PCs were successfully operated in 4 provinces, namely Hung Yen, Vinh Phuc, Tien Giang and Ben Tre.
In less than 2 years of project’s operation, more than 70 Plant doctors have been trained and they are capable to give advice and recommendation for farmers on issues related to plant health.
The PCs have 2 sessions per month. Through the samples that farmers bring along, plant doctors diagnose, prescribe, recommend and advise them on the technical measures promptly and properly to manage diseases and control pest in particular and advising them for suitable variety crops, fertilizer, water management, in general. The plant doctor also can give advice through telephone or at the field when they visit the affected areas.
Son La is the province where more PCs are established because it is typical of the northern mountainous region and has a rich crop diversity. The natural area of the province is 1,412,500 hectares in which 753 520 ha (53.3% of natural land) is under cultivation. The main crop there are maize, coffee, fruit trees like mango, peach, plum, longan, ect. With land structure conditions and changing weather in recent years, pests and diseases in Son La are major issues which have to be considered. Also, due to the complicated terrain conditions, Son La is the first province in Vietnam where the model of PCs are combined between mobile and fixed. In the mobile PCs, the plant doctors go to different villages to see the affected crops and give advice and recommendation to farmers.
Hopefully with close relationship between the local authorities and the farmers, with the enthusiasm and ability of the plant doctors and good management of the national coordination team, the PCs will achieve great success and bring practical benefits, contribute to improving the economic efficiency of agricultural production as well as knowledge for farmers to care for plant health.
Kim Ngoc & Xuan Du- VAAS