Fourteen officers received certificates and recognized as plant health doctors, through the support of the Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI).
As plant health doctors, the officers will play the role like a ‘medical’ doctor where symptoms are investigated before medicine is prescribed to cure the disease.
The plant health doctors will be able to identify symptoms of a plant disease or pest, collect, check infested samples and provide useful recommendations to farmers. If symptoms of a plant disease or insect pest are not clear, officers can seek advice from other colleagues who can be able to provide useful information.
Workshop Facilitator Dr Arnaud Costa of CABI conducted a series of modules in identifying common and confusing symptoms of diseases, recognizing nutrient deficiencies, using mobile phones to identify plant diseases and an exercise on talking with farmers to understand how serious a disease or pest is in the field.
Officers from NARI, Kokonas Indastri Koporesen, Cocoa Board, FPDA, NAQIA and Coffee Industry Corporation went through a series of modules which looked at identifying pests and diseases affecting various horticultural plants and food crops.
NARI Director General Dr Nelson Simbiken officiated at the close of the workshop, thanked participants saying; with the skills and knowledge gained, they can plan for plant health clinics in their respective areas to assist farmers.
NARI is looking forward to learning about the progress of ’plant health doctors’ when they plan to hold a plant health clinic in their respective regions to see how well they can be able to diagnose and prescribe good recommendations to the farming community.
Among the fourteen trained ‘plant health doctors’ were two female officers; Botany Officer of NAQIA Carolyne Yallen and FPDA’s Village Extension Manager Lonica Aris.
The Plant health workshop was run from October 23 to 27 at NARI’s indoor Allan Quartermain Hall in Lae, Morobe province.
Certificate presentation to workshop participants.