20 November 2012

Rwanda: Plant Clinics to Be Set Up Nationwide

Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB) will be setting up Plant Health Clinics (PHC) countrywide in a move to support researchers and extension officers to provide direct support to farmers.

The Director General of RAB, Dr. Jean Jacques Mbonigaba Muhinda, said that currently, there are two PHCs in each province, but that there was need to have at least one in every district.

He made the remarks during a national stakeholder's forum on PHC that took place in Kigali yesterday.

"We already have 57 qualified PHC doctors, but based on the need to have more clinics, we are working hard to ensure that we hit the target," said Muhinda.

Since last year, RAB in partnership with the Centre for Agriculture Bioscience International (CABI) have been establishing PHC to support or help farmers to control pests and crop disease management.

This is made possible by the research findings that will identify possibilities of disease out break or even pests that might attack and affect farmers' harvest.

Lack of information about diseases that affect crops does not only lead to losses thereby threatening food security, but it also increases the cost of fighting or controlling the diseases after spreading or affecting more plants.

Muhinda says the clinics will not only be used by RAB officials, but will bring about coordination with farmers in getting regular information that effectively contributes towards early detection of disease out break.

The two-day meeting that also attracted local leaders and farmers from various parts of the country aimed at educating participants about some specific disease control measures and basic farming methods so as to build their capacity and participation in disease prevention control and prevention.

RAB officials who spoke to The New Times at the meeting said that although the clinics are of great importance, it also calls for farmers' commitment in reporting cases identified in their gardens.

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