Case study explores a ‘One Health’ approach to crop and livestock care in Uganda
14 December 2022, Uganda: The CABI Digital Library has published a new One Health Cases which explores how a ‘One Health’ approach to crop and livestock care in Uganda has been benefiting hundreds of smallholder farmers.
The case study, entitled ‘How Crop-livestock Clinics Are Advancing One Health: A Pilot Case from Uganda,’ highlights the results and lessons learnt from the first pilot year (2021) of the project which operated in the districts of Mukono, Luwero, Buikwe and Kayunga.
CABI researchers and authors of the document, Solveig Danielsen, Christine Alokit, Caroline Aliamo and Idah Mugambi, state that the idea for joint crop-livestock clinics in Uganda stems from 18 years’ experience of CABI’s work with plant clinics, under the Global Plant Clinic and Plantwise programmes.
A survey conducted in 2016/2017 among 180 plant doctors (local extension workers trained in plant health diagnose and mitigation advice) in Uganda, Kenya, Zambia, Peru and Costa Rica, showed that most of them also received queries on livestock despite the clinics being set up to only address plant health issues.
The authors said, “This fuelled interest in expanding the scope of plant clinics and in improving co-ordination between crop, animal husbandry and veterinary officers whose work is normally not connected.
“Integrated approaches are required to addresses the health interfaces between crop and livestock care – notably in low-income countries where resources are scarce. Yet, to this day, integrated health services remain under-explored within the One Health dimension.”
New advisory service
The case study shows how a team of people from different disciplines and sectors co-created a new type of farmer advisory service in four districts of Uganda. This was made possible thanks to a grant from Biovision Foundation and a transdisciplinary partnership between local governments, the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), Makerere University, selected district local governments of Buikwe, Mukono, Kagadi, Hoima, Kayunga and Hoima and CABI.
The crop-livestock clinic set-up consists of tables and chairs placed under folding tents or at a community facility where farmers can come and go on the agreed dates and within the planned time. Staff from agriculture and veterinary departments attend to farmers who visit the clinic.
During the first nine months, more than 1,000 queries were received at the four crop-livestock clinics by over 700 farmers of whom 43% were female. While there was more crop than animal queries, 15% of the clinic users presented both crop and animal issues – indicating that farmers were beginning to take up the idea of a double-purpose service.
Matters on coffee, banana, maize, tomato and cassava represented 67% of crop enquires whereas cattle, poultry, pigs and goats made up 97% of all animal enquiries.
Less frequent crops included oranges, beans, egg plants, cocoa, mango, cabbage, groundnut, avocado and other minor roots, fruits and vegetables. A few queries were presented on dogs, rabbits, sheep, turkeys and cats.
Improved service delivery
The authors said, “Although estimates of cost-efficiency and effectiveness of the crop-livestock clinics remain to be made, there are signs that joint clinics have improved service delivery in different ways.
“Feedback from clinic staff and district managers indicates that the mobile clinics, while costly due to transportation of staff and equipment, enhance farmers reach as well as geographic coverage within the sub-counties compared to other extension methods.”
The researchers also highlight that the joint crop-livestock clinic approach could also serve to help address other complex ‘One Health’ issues such as pesticide risk reduction, mycotoxin contamination and antimicrobial resistance that are not always evident from problems that are brought to the clinics.
They conclude, “Crop-livestock clinics represent an innovation in service delivery based on existing organizational structures and capacities. They also have the potential to become a practical, hands-on way to put One Health into practice.”
Further progress made
During 2022, joint clinics in two new districts (Kagadi and Hoima) were launched and attended by plant doctors, agriculture and veterinary staff, district leadership and representatives from MAAIF.
Twenty-four staff from six participating districts and MAAIF have also been trained on the digitized tools for data capture and data management. Thirteen animal husbandry officers and veterinary staff were trained in cattle and poultry health management and nutrition.
Early in December, CABI and senior officials from MAAIF, the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) and other stakeholders, engaged in high-level talks with a view to greater collaboration towards ensuring better sustainable food security in Uganda.
High on the agenda was a dialogue with key partners on emerging social and environmental challenges – such as the spread of invasive species, crop pests and diseases which affect yields and livelihoods, and mindful of the need for access to markets and inclusive innovation and technology for addressing these challenges.
As part of this, the delegates were also appraised on CABI’s existing work in Uganda, including the new global programme, PlantwisePlus. The programme goes one step further in harnessing the very latest technology to ensure that farmers have all the information at their fingertips so they can more readily mitigate a fuller range of potentially devastating crop pests and diseases.
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