Plantwise Sustainability: Two Years on Follow-up assessments in six countries
Published: September, 2023
CABI implemented its global Plantwise programme from 2011 to 2020 to address smallholder farmers’ plant health challenges with more than 200 partner organizations in around 30 countries. Two years after Plantwise funding ceased, a follow-up sustainability assessment was carried out in six countries: Nepal and Pakistan (Asia); Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi (Africa); and Jamaica (Caribbean).
The aim of the assessment was to gain an understanding of Plantwise’s legacy, or elements thereof, and how the country context has influenced what happened, positively or negatively, since the programme ended, as well as what the drivers and blockers are to sustainability. Information was gathered through interviews and group discussions with Plantwise partners, and a review of recent programme documents, country policies, selected literature, and Plantwise Online Management System (POMS) data. This was followed by in -depth conversations over Zoom with country study teams to discuss findings and key lessons.
The country studies for this assessment show that sustainability is highly contextual: knowledge on national policy, institutional mandates, mode of operation, and available resources, is paramount to ensure that interventions fit with structures and capacities in a particular setting. The country cases also show the different ways in which a particular circumstance, or combination of circumstances, helped or hindered sustainability in one country, while a different set of circumstances was influential in another country. Sudden changes can undermine partnerships and achievements made, which makes it difficult to engineer or promote sustainability. Using a flexible, adaptive approach, in which opportunities are spotted and seized, is vital.
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.