Nov 29, 2019: Plant Clinic, a proven model to reduce the yield loss and increase the farmers' income, is gathering increasing support from two state governments – Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. This support came during two results-sharing workshops held recently.
Plant clinics are a model of timely support to farmers with the aid of field-level workers and technical experts using technology, an initiative by MSSRF and Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI).
In his keynote address in the Chennai workshop Prof M S Swaminathan said that plant health, soil health and animal health are very important to the farmers, so this programme is very useful. He said “Farmers have a rich knowledge on farming and their life cannot be separated from the land. Each farmer is a scientist and each scientist is a farmer”. Dr Vinod Pandit, the Programme leader from CABI South Asia spoke about CABI’s initiatives of the PlantWise programme across 36 countries.
The Puducherry government is willing to support and promote the plant clinic model for the benefit of a large number of farmers, said Dr (initial) Balagandhi, Director, Department of Agriculture and Farmers’ welfare, Puducherry, in the result-sharing workshop in Puducherry. This initiative is pertinent to provide timely support to farmers and increase their income, said Mr Shunchonngam Jatak Chiru IAS, Commissioner, Directorate of Agriculture Marketing and Agri-business, Govt. of Tamil Nadu, at the workshop at Chennai. He also said that farmers need support to manage the pest and diseases, marketing and post-harvest losses. There are 500 Farmer Producer Organizations in Tamil Nadu with 500,000 registered members. The Tamil Nadu Government will extend its support to upscale this programme and necessary actions will be taken for the integration of plant clinic programme in existing policies and programmes of FPOs.
MSSRF and CABI have been jointly implementing the Plant Clinic programme since 2012. In order to share the results and achievements among the stakeholders and explore the possibilities of scaling-up, the result sharing workshop on ‘Role in strengthening smallholders access to plant health advisories’ was organised on 28th and 29th November 2019 in Puducherry and in Tamil Nadu respectively.
Dr R Rengalakshmi, Director of Ecotechnology at MSSRF presented the 8 years of work and achievements of the plant clinic programme. Dr Ambedkar, Director of Tamil Nadu Rice Research Institute, Aduthurai, agriculture scientists from Tamil Nadu Agriculture University, Agriculture Department of Tamil Nadu Government, Plant Doctors, Farmers and agro-input dealers took part in the workshop. Appreciation awards were presented to the best performing plant doctors and stakeholders.