Government Approved Document Provides Firm Guidelines for the Operation of Nepal’s Plant Clinics Nationwide

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06 June 2024, Nepal: The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development (MoALD) in Nepal has approved a document which provides comprehensive guidelines and procedures for the operation of PlantwisePlus plant clinics nationwide.

Establishment of the Plant Clinic Programme Operations Procedure marks a significant milestone in the plant health sector of Nepal, aiming to streamline and enhance the plant clinic programme that has been serving farmers since 2008.

CABI and the Government of Nepal officially started implementing the Plantwise programme – to help smallholder farmers grow more and lose less to crop pests and diseases – after signing the Plantwise Partnership agreement in December 2013.

Crucial role in assisting farmers

Since its inception, the plant clinic programme in Nepal has played a crucial role in assisting farmers by diagnosing crop issues and providing management recommendations to help increase their livelihoods and local and food security.

But the lack of federal-level policy and legal frameworks has led to varying practices and standards across different provinces and local levels. This has hindered the programme’s overall effectiveness and consistency.

The newly approved Plant Clinic Programme Operations Procedure addresses the long-standing issue of lacking a uniform nation-level policy and legal frameworks to help provinces prepare physical and financial plans for the country’s plant clinics.

Dr Debraj Adhikari, Senior Plant Protection Officer, PQPMC, Nepal, said, “Nepal’s agricultural extension system faces significant challenges in reach and connectivity, with gaps in the timely dissemination of standardized, unified information on plant health and pest detection.

“The approval of the Operations Procedure comes now at the very right moment as a much-needed step in streamlining the plant clinic activities – including stakeholder engagement, data management and training – across all seven provinces in Nepal.”

Operating as effectively and efficiently as possible

The document promotes the idea of a national pest list as well as promoting safe pesticide use, enhancing plant doctors’ technical capacity through training, and uniform financial approvals across different levels of plant clinic operations.

It also aims to establish monitoring and evaluation officers for quality control and data management to make sure that the plant clinics across Nepal are operating as effectively and as efficiently as possible for the benefit of smallholder farmers.

The policy establishes two levels of committees as Central Plant Clinic Operation and Regulation Technical Working Group and the Provincial Plant Clinic Technical Task Force.

These seek to provide policy opinions and suggestions to the ministry about the programme related to plant clinics and to solve the technical problems related to the effective implementation of this programme.

Monitoring and Evaluation

The policy emphasizes the importance of monitoring and evaluation to ensure the program’s effectiveness and quality. The Ministry, along with central and provincial agriculture offices, will oversee the programme’s implementation and send regular reports to the Plant Quarantine and Pesticide Management Center.

Additionally, authorized personnel will be assigned as plant clinic monitoring and evaluation officers to ensure adherence to the guidelines and continuous improvement of the programme.

Dr Mahesh H M, CABI’s Crop Health Advisor and Country Coordinator for Nepal, said, “Overall, the approval of the Plant Clinic Programme Operation Procedure by MoALD is a significant step towards strengthening Nepal’s agricultural sector.

“By providing a clear and comprehensive framework for the operation of plant clinics, this policy aims to enhance the support provided to farmers, promote sustainable pest management practices, and ultimately contribute to the overall development and security of the country’s agriculture.”

Mr Madhav Bhatta, Plant Protection Officer, PQPMC, Nepal, stressed that as Nepal moves forward with this initiative, the collaborative efforts of all stakeholders will be crucial in achieving the desired outcomes and ensuring the long-term success of the plant clinic programme.

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