BUJUMBURA, November 8th (ABP) – Plantwise modules will be integrated into secondary and higher agricultural education in Burundi to strengthen the plant protection system, this was revealed from a press release issued on October 25, 2023 .
According to that press release, Plantwise Burundi collaborates with the “Curriculum Design Office for Post-basic Technical Education and Vocational Training (BECEPFTFP), the national institution in charge of developing curricula at the level of technical and professional tracks, in order to integrate Plantwise modules into the teaching of ITABs technical schools.
Through that partnership, students will be able to carry out phytosanitary diagnostics, manage plant clinics and provide informed recommendations to help farmers combat plant pests and diseases.
Currently, three types of institutions have been identified as being ideal for integrating plantwise modules into their study programs including agricultural vocational technical schools-ITAB, public and private universities, and vocational training schools, trade education centers (CEM) and vocational training centers (CEF).
“Key progress has already been made in integrating Plantwise modules into secondary and tertiary education in Burundi. Indeed, CABI being the organization which drew up those training modules, has signed partnership and license agreements for the use of that training material with the BECEPTFP as well as the Light University while the University of Ngozi already uses Plantwise training materials as part of their curriculum. We are pleased to see that the Plantwise program continues to have a positive impact in Burundi as we continue our activities to improve the food security of rural people,” said Dr Ir Célestin Niyongere, Plantwise Coordinator in Burundi, speaking on the subject.
According to agricultural experts, an effectively functioning plant diagnostic system leads to better advice on pest and plant disease control and the strengthening of national plant health systems. This improves agricultural production and rural livelihoods to the benefit of farmers, consumers and the environment.
Still in the same press release, François Nkunzimana, director of BECEPFTFP having followed the training offered by the Plantwise program, positively appreciates the relevance of this program: “We found the Plantwise approach very relevant and capable of providing added value in the revision of the content of the plant protection course in force in ITAB agricultural technical schools and in the training offers of the agricultural sectors of CEM and CFP, in order to update them and offer training offers in line with technological developments”, he insisted.
According to that press release, if Burundi officially adopts Plantwise’s innovative approach in its programs, the country will join countries like Bolivia, Nicaragua and Uganda, where the training of plant doctors has been integrated with success in the university and/or college system. Collectively, these institutions have trained hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students using Plantwise training materials.
The press release specifies that in Uganda, for example, Makerere University and Uganda Christian Universities have developed programs based on Plantwise training in higher education.
Stakeholders reveal that the inclusion of plant doctor training not only enriches the experience of faculty and students through highly practical and interactive training sessions, but also serves as a community outreach tool that increases impact of those institutions in local communities. Young graduates are now better equipped and empowered to help farmers diagnose and combat pests and diseases, the press release concluded.