Smallholder farmers rely on crops for income and food security. However, their ability to generate income and maintain food security is threatened by the presence of pests and diseases and correspondingly a general lack of knowledge and information to address these issues. It has been estimated that 40 percent of crops worldwide are lost to pests, threatening local, national, and global food security. Plantwise began working in Kenya in 2010 to gather, organize, manage, and disseminate plant health information to smallholder farmers. More than 150 Plant clinics have been established to provide smallholder farmers with low-cost access to plant health information and diagnosis of plant health issues.
AIR is conducting a mixed-methods impact and process evaluation (including a cost-benefit analysis) of Plantwise in collaboration with American University and Research Solutions Africa. To measure the impacts of the program at the farm level, AIR designed a multi-site, longitudinal, randomized controlled trial of 2800 farmers in 13 counties in Kenya, relying on the plant clinic expansion plan that Plantwise is implementing from 2014 to 2018. On the qualitative side, information is being collected at the national and local (county) level through both key informant interviews and focus group discussions. Baseline data and two rounds of follow-up data (at 12 and 36 months) are being collected.
The evaluation collected baseline data in August 2014 and the first follow-up in the second half of 2015. The first set of impact results will be available in the first half of 2016.