Most farmers are willing to pay for plant health advice, new research shows

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The majority of farmers surveyed in Bangladesh, Rwanda and Zambia are willing to pay for visits to CABI-led Plantwise plant clinics to help diagnose potentially devastating pests and crop diseases, as well as ways to mitigate the impact on yields. .

An international team of experts led by Adewale Ogunmodede, a junior agricultural economist based at CABI in Egham, UK, found that 64% of farmers surveyed were willing to pay enough to cover the operating costs of factory clinics. This is so that they can continue to receive advice to help them increase their yields and livelihoods.

Researchers, including those from the CABI center in Switzerland; Cranfield University, United Kingdom; Ibadan University and Olabisi Onabanjo University, both in Nigeria, have learned that farmers are willing to pay $ 0.27, $ 0.85 and $ 2,225 for a visit, respectively.

The data were obtained from 602, 637 and 837 households between 2018 and 2019 in Bangladesh, Rwanda and Zambia. Farmers who have previously visited a plant clinic have been studied and the focus of pests are fruit flies on pumpkins in Bangladesh and autumn army worms (Spodoptera frugiperda) on corn in Rwanda and Zambia.

Researchers whose research is published in International Journal of Agricultural Sustainabilityalso learned that only a few farmers – ranging from around 1% in Rwanda to 16% in Zambia – were reluctant to contribute financially to the sustainability of plant clinics.

The Plant Clinic Expansion Approach is part of the global Plantwise program, managed by CABI, and supports smallholder farmers by providing direct crop pest diagnostics and farmer management advice.

The first plant clinic was opened in Bolivia in 2003, before expanding to 35 developing countries, where some 5,000 plant clinics have been set up to provide free pest diagnosis and advice services.

There are currently 30 plant clinics and over 200 plant doctors in Bangladesh, 66 plant clinics in Rwanda with 350 plant doctors and 121 plant clinics and 350 plant doctors in Zambia.

Mr Ogunmodede said: “External financiers are now paying for the plant’s operations, which raises concerns about their long-term viability if funding stops.

“These findings suggest that farmers value the services provided by plant clinics and tend to contribute financially to their sustainability. It would be useful to pilot paid services at the plant clinic to assess the actual willingness of farmers to pay.

“Our findings also suggest that in some contexts, more educated and wealthier farmers, as well as members of farmers’ associations, may be directed to pay the actual cost to the consumer of maintaining the plant clinic services.

Researchers also suggest that poor and older households may be allowed to pay subsidized fees so as not to be excluded from fee-based plant treatment services.

Dr Justice Tambo, co-author and socio-economist at the CABI Center in Switzerland, said: “Future research would be worth exploring the most preferred payment methods by farmers, thus promoting more farmers to participate in the payment system.

“For example, Cartmell reported that in Latin America, the sustainability of plant clinics is achievable by paying fees to farmers’ associations that offer plant clinic services.”

The researchers conclude that their willingness to pay estimates covers only the cost of maintaining existing factory clinics. They suggest that financial commitments from national or local implementing organizations will be needed to cover the costs of setting up factory clinics.

This includes staff training in factory clinics, data management and the purchase of clinical equipment, such as portable microscopes or handheld tablets for lenses and tents.

One approach, scientists say, to cover initial set-up costs and contribute to the sustainability of plant clinics would be to integrate this model of enlargement into national or local government agricultural policies or enlargement strategies.


Plant clinics help promote sustainable crop pest management in Rwanda and Zambia


More info:
Adewale M. Ogunmodede et al., The willingness of farmers to pay for the sustainability of plant clinics: evidence from Bangladesh, Rwanda and Zambia, International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability (2022). DOI: 10.1080 / 14735903.2022.2082018

Provided by CABI

Quote: Most farmers are willing to pay for plant health advice, according to new research (2022, June 20), extracted on June 21, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-06-majority- farmers-health-advice.html

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