The (Plant) Doctor is In

February 8, 2012

Through the USDA-Plantwise partnership, USDA research and information will be electronically transferred to the Plantwise global knowledge bank so that the “plant doctors” at these clinics will have easier access to in order to help farmers in far off places diagnose and control the plant pests and diseases affecting their fields.

Bangladesh, for example, currently has 19 Plantwise clinics operating through three local partners. USDA information and research will be fed into Plantwise’s knowledge bank, which “plant doctors” use at clinics in rural areas. The clinics are set up like medical clinics: farmers bring in diseased plants to work with the doctors in diagnosing the problem and finding ways to manage it.

While nearly two thirds of Bangladeshis work in agriculture, and 80 percent of the country relies on agriculture for their subsistence, 10 to 25 percent of their expected production is lost to pests annually. Programs like Plantwise can play an important role in empowering Bangladeshi farmers with the right knowledge to address these pests in an integrated and effective way, thereby reversing the loss crops, and increasing their food production.