Plant clinic data management: An assessment of the use, management and functioning of the Kenyan Plantwise Data Management System
Published: August, 2017
This report presents the findings of a study carried out in Kenya in order to: 1. understand how plant clinic data are managed, perceived and used by partners; 2. identify key challenges and opportunities for improving systems for plant clinic data management and use; and 3. identify key criteria and variables for future assessments of data management systems. The report is part of a larger study covering two countries: Kenya (where the first CABI supported plant clinics started operations in 2010) and Myanmar (first CABI supported plant clinics started in 2014).
In a period of two weeks in November 2016, the research team visited four counties and spoke with about 70 respondents, who are either technically or organisationally engaged in the Plantwise Kenya (PW-K) data management system (DMS), about their views on the functioning of the DMS and wider Plantwise programme. Through in-depth interviews and focus group discussions (FGDs) their perceptions, motivations and incentives were discussed with regard to their institutional mandates in general, and their role in the Plantwise DMS in particular. They were also asked about their views on the benefits and challenges of the DMS. The qualitative data were complemented with quantitative data retrieved from the Plantwise Online Management System (POMS).
In order to obtain a complete picture of the factors that influence the effective use and management of plant clinic data, ideally the views and perceptions of actors engaged in all DMS stages – data collection, processing and sharing/use – should be assessed. In this study, the majority of respondents consisted of actors involved in data collection. This was purposefully done, to gain detailed insight in this stage, as Kenya has recently transitioned from a paper-based data recording system to an e-clinic system using tablets. In practice this meant that we mainly spoke with plant doctors and the people coordinating and managing extension work at county levels. It also means that this report does not present a complete assessment of the Kenyan DMS.
Worldwide, over 500 million smallholder farmers provide food for two-thirds of the earth’s growing population. Achieving a zero hunger world by 2030 depends on increasing the productivity of these smallholder farmers – but their crops face a significant threat. Yearly, an estimated 40% of crops grown worldwide are lost to pests. If we could reduce crop losses by just 1%, we could potentially feed millions more people. The lack of access to timely, appropriate and actionable extension advice makes it a fundamental challenge for farmers to get the right information at the right time to reduce crop losses.