Plant clinics (PCs) are a meeting place where local plant health officers help farmers struggling with plant pests and diseases. The plant protection officers provide diagnoses and management advice for any problem and any crop. Plant clinics has been established in Vietnam since 2013 and has achieved significant results. This is the core of Plantwise project initiated by the Center of Biological Agriculture International (CABI) to manage pests and disease with target to minimize production losses and increase farmer’s income. The goal of the project in next 5 years is to promote effects of PCs and help as many farmers as possible, especially ones in remote areas with low incomes, towards the sustainable agriculture and safe environment.
In order to find solutions for expanding activities of the Project, Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences (VAAS) and CABI co-organized the National Forum "Mainstreaming Plantwise into the Vietnam’s National Extension System" at the VAAS’s headquarters on 18th October 2016.
Attended at the Forum were leaders of departments and centers under the MARD: Mr Vu Van Minh - Deputy Director of International Cooperation Department, Mr. Nguyen Quy Duong - Deputy Director of Plant Protection Department; representatives of the National Agricultural Extension Center; the Department of Science, Technology and Environment; Mr. Nguyen Van Tao – Vice President of VAAS; leaders of the Plant Protection Research Institute (PPRI), the Southern Fruit Research Institute (SOFRI), Western Highland Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute (WASI); Plant Protection Sub- Department (PPSD) representatives of provinces Hung Yen, Vinh Phuc, Son La, Dak Lak; R & D Hi-tech Agriculture Center; leaders and officials of VAAS boards. Representatives from CABI were Dr. Loke Wai Hong, Director of CABI - SEA, Dr. Sivapragasam Annamalai, Deputy Director of CABI-SEA and other experts.
After 4 year implementation, 25 Plant Clinics (PCs) in 5 provinces including Hung Yen, Vinh Phuc, Son La, Tien Giang and Dak Lak become a reliable address for farmers to go for getting free advice on pest and disease management as well as other technical measures to reduce the damage caused by pests. The PCs work 2 times /month and the number of sessions are increased when there are outbreaks or when crops are in susceptible periods to pests and environmental conditions. 100 doctors have been trained for pest and disease symptom recognition and diagnosis, evaluation to operate and manage these PCs.
At the Forum, the participants had a lively discussion about further development to expand and promote activities and efficiency of PCs. The main solutions need to be integrated and connected to MARD's programs and projects; mainstreaming Plantwise into plant protection or extention system from the central to local levels, from the PPSD to the PP Station. In addition, the propaganda and promotion of PCs are needed to spread its efficiency to more farmers. It is important to attract the interest of all stakeholders including the Crop Department, Plant Protection Department, National Agricultural Extension Center, Extension Centers of provinces, Department of ARD, PPSD of provinces and local authorities, cooperatives, agricultural extension staff and farmers, especially.
In conclusion, Prof. Dr. Nguyen Van Tuat, Former Vice President of VAAS, Principal Investigator of Plantwise Project indicated that the PCs have to be operated in the future because this is the model developed in over 34 countries around the world and Vietnam also needs to be integrated and apply. In the coming time, VAAS would recommend MARD for allowing document preparation to approve and recognize the project "Plantwise Vietnam-Plant Clinics" as an advanced technology.