Capacity Building Programme on “Becoming a Plant Doctor”

Knowledge Management and Capacity Building is the core theme of the project in builiding the capability of the small farmers and associated stakeholders in addressing the issues in enhancing the resilience capacity in the context of climate change. Management of plant health assumes greater importance to reduce the risk in crop cultivation. The current advisory systems available to meet the challenge is inadeqaute and require a paradigm shift in the approach. Towards this, MSSRF is striving to develop a farmer friendly model in collaboration with CABI for the past 8 years. CABI’s model on Plant Clinic is being translated in to action  and fine tuned the systems and approaches in three states. Based on its relevance and usefulness in providing a real-time solution to the farmers in plant health management, efforts are taken to extend the plant clinic programme in the RESILIENCE  project by promoting a cadre of Plant Doctors.

With this background, MSSRF, Centre for Rural Technology (CRT), Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati and CABI New Delhi jointly organised the Capacity Building Programme on “Becoming a Plant Doctor” form 15-19 July 2019 at IITG, Assam. The programme was started with the welcome address by Dr. Sudip Mitra, Associate Professor, CRT, IITG.  Dr. Sanjay Kumar Chetia, Principal Scientist,  Assam Agricultural University, Jorhat, explained the goal and objectives of the RESILIENCE Project. Dr. R. Rajkumar, Senior Scientist, MSSRF spoke on the Purpose of the training programme. Prof. S.K. Kakoty, Head, CRT, IITG delivered the Special address. Chief Guest of this programme Prof. T.G. Sitharam, Director, IITG, delivered the Inaugural address and he pointed out the need for such farmer friendly, science and technology based advisory systems in building the resilience among small and marginal farmers. He also advised to think for a potential programme in similar line on “ Becoming a Water Doctor”. He urged all to conduct many more such program in future and take the learnings from such programs to the field. Dr. Siddhartha Singha, CRT, IITG proposed the vote of thanks.

Mr. Salik A. Adhikari, Senior Plant Production officer, Nepal and Dr. Vinod Pandit, Programme Leader, CABI, New Delhi provided the training to the participants on the training module 1 and 2. This module  1 of ‘Becoming Plant doctor’ . Participants are trained on understanding the different crop problems, pest problems (biotic and abiotic causes) and encouraging them to act as a detective for step by step process of diagnosing the problem correctly. Trainees were provided with materials (handouts) for control methods and make them understand the spatial aspects of control, that zones the action taken timescale. Exercises and presentation on pesticides were conducted to inform about limitation of chemical control, mode of action and banned chemicals.

The trained participants will take this learning forward by conducting the plant clinics in their respective locations on regular intervals. CABI and MSSRF will extend the necessary supports in the implementing this process at the field level.

Few feedback from the participants

Subhashree Dihingia, “Very satisfying training programme. It helped us a lot, especially to differentiate & distinguish between different biotic and abiotic damages that occur to plants system.”

Priyanka Dutta, “The training program was very interactive. It was practical and activity based  ; the way of presentation were delivered was very useful for field practioners.”