CAB International

Plant clinics

Farmers in Rwanda visiting a plant clinic eagerly look at photos

Many of the world’s poorest people rely on their crops for basic survival. For these smallholder farmers plant pests and diseases are a constant threat. Failed crops mean no food and no money to buy food.

The Plantwise initiative was established to help the world's poorest farmers deal with pests and diseases and other plant health problems.

Plantwise works with local extension services to provide poor smallholder farmers with access to advice from a plant clinic. These clinics operate like a human doctor’s surgery; they provide advice on demand, tailored to the farmer’s individual need. 

How the plant clinics work

The clinics are made accessible to farmers by holding them on a regular basis in a prominent local meeting place, such as a market. When the farmer has a problem with a crop, he/she can bring a sample along to the plant clinic. At the clinic a trained 'plant doctor' listens to the farmer, examines the sample, diagnoses the problem and offers a suggested treatment. Treatment suggestions are affordable for farmers and use locally available resources. The correct chemicals are recommended only when necessary.

With access to these services farmers can tackle pests and diseases and produce healthy crops and productive yields. With successful harvests farmers can feed and support their families.

Diagnosis is not always straightforward. Sometimes plant doctors need to send samples to a laboratory (in exactly the same way that a family doctor sends samples to a hospital laboratory). Plantwise helps link clinics with diagnostic laboratories and other resources they need. Find out more >  

Impacts and benefitsBangladesh woman farmer at plant clinic


"We come to the plant clinic to get treatment for the diseases. Even if I spend just 5 takas I can save thousands."

Farmer, Bangladesh


Farmer benefits

  • Farmers visiting plant clinics in Bolivia benefitted by an average of $801 per hectare Read study >
  • Farmers in Bangladesh benefitted by an average of $325 or 24% increase in net income and a 9% increase in crop yields Read study summary >

The Plantwise programme

  • Helps build capacity and create plant health networks
  • Enables local organizations to set up, run and manage plant clinics
  • Trains 'plant doctors'
  • Is self-sustaining, managed and run locally
  • Identifies and documents new diseases; 54 new disease records have been published since 2002 

The role our team plays

Our team helps developing countries establish an integrated plant health system, of which the clinics play a crucial role. Find out about the work we do at a local, regional and national level to help developing countries establish a clinic programme and integrated plant health system for the long term. More > 

Plant clinic in busy market in DR Congo
Plant clinic in busy market in DR Congo  

How far have we got?

The Plantwise clinic programme began in 2002; it was known then as the Global Plant Clinic (GPC). From 2002 to 2009 the GPC helped establish clinic programmes in nine countries. In 2010 Plantwise was established to considerably expand the successful clinics programme and provide a knowledge bank to support those clinics and the countries at a local, regional and national level.

To date we have helped local organizations roll out over 400 plant clinics in 31 countries

See countries with plant clinics >

Read the Plantwise policies on pesticides, pest reporting, sending specimens and other topics

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