Review of plant health clinics: a recent phenomenon for effective plant pests and diseases diagnosis
Keywords:Plant health clinics, Smallholder farmers, extension support
Plant health clinic is a mechanism in which farmers are able to access basic plant healthcare and services from relevant authority in relation to infested or suspected infested plants and plant products for diagnostic purposes. Plant health clinic is an integral part of the plant health system which provides early pest diagnostic and advisory services to farmers. In this paper, it can be further defined as a basic plant healthcare rendered to farmers to enhance and improve plant production thereby diagnosing plant pests and diseases with the aim of employing appropriate pest management strategy. In many countries, plant health clinics operators are extension experts, plant doctors, inspectors and scientists within government and NGOs. Extension support in particular is critical in the operation of plant health clinics. The purpose of this paper is to provide a global overview of plant clinic as a recent ways of plant diseases diagnosis. This paper concluded that plant health clinics are valuable tools which need to be adopted by various countries for smallholder farmers to understand more about plant pests and diseases as well as management strategy. To the contrary, many countries are dependent on national diagnostic services as opposed to basic plant healthcare which is more accessible to the smallholders. This review paper further revealed that plant health clinics’ knowledge, awareness, accessibility and satisfaction of the smallholder farmers are very important. Plant clinics may not efficiently and effectively operate in the absence of the aforementioned aspects. Plant clinics were found to be the most efficient way to reach smallholder farmers for advice.
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