Closure of Plant Clinics Leaves Farmers Stranded

1670 Views Fort Portal, Uganda

In short
Salvatore Abigaba, the Kabarole District Production Coordinator attributes the closure of the clinics to inadequate plant doctors. He explains that some of the doctors were transferred to different areas while others got employed elsewhere.

Plant clinics in Kabarole district have closed leaving farmers stranded with diseased crops. In 2014, Kabaorole district established plant clinics at parish and village level where farmers would take samples of affected crops for expert advice from extension workers free of charge.



The clinics were operated by plant doctors with special training to diagnose crop diseases and offer advice to farmers on the best way to treat them. However, the plant clinics are no more, which has left farmers stranded with their diseased crops.

 
Christine Kemigisa, the chairperson Bukuku Farmer's Association, says in the past, the clinics enabled the farmers to avert possible catastrophes arising out of pests and diseases, which improved food production.


//Cue in: the farmers...

Cue out…earn them income."//

 
Ronald Baguma, a farmer in Kichwamba Sub County, says that the district has remained silent since the clinics stopped operations a year ago.  He explains that due to the absence of the clinics, he has been forced to get expert advice from private extension workers who charge high costs.
 
  
He also says that sometimes, he has been sold wrong herbicides to treat pests without expert advice and has ended up making losses resulting from poor yields. 


Salvatore Abigaba, the Kabarole District Production Coordinator attributes the closure of the clinics to inadequate plant doctors. He explains that some of the doctors were transferred to different areas while others got employed elsewhere. 

 
Abigaba however says that there are plans to revive the clinics, which will this time be operated by community knowledge workers. The workers are local farmers who are trusted by their communities and are knowledgeable about treating and preventing pests and diseases.


 
According to the UK-based Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience (CABI), plant pests and diseases are major threat to food security and livelihoods in most developing countries. 




CABI notes that 40 percent of the value of plants for food is lost to pests and diseases before they can be harvested by farmers.

 

About the author

Emmanuel Kajubu
Emmanuel Kajubu is proud to have been the first Ugandan journalist to write in depth pieces about the Tooro Kingdom institution. His knowledge of the inner workings of the Tooro Kingdom is what made him privy to the splits in the royal family. These splits almost challenged Tooro Omukama Oyo Nyimba Iguru's reign.

Culture, agriculture and the environment are just two areas of many of interest to Kajubu. As long as he has held a pen, Kajubu has also written about public policy, health and crime.

Kajubu is keen on impacting his society not just as a writer but also a trainer and mentor. Bundibugyo and Ntoroko districts fall under his docket. Kajubu has been a URN staff member since 2008.