Abstract, University of Tehran, 2017
Nowadays, hundreds of plant clinics are available for smallholder farmers especially in developing and less-developed countries in order to improve the yield and quality of agricultural products. Several investigations have been carried out to study the role of plant clinics as diagnostics and advisory centres in agricultural extension. However, it seems that there is no comprehensive study demonstrating the role of plant disease diagnosis networks and plant clinics in the development of the farmers’ agricultural knowledge. This knowledge can cover a general understanding of integrated nutrient and pest management programmes, principles of agronomy, and simple disease diagnosis methods. In this review paper, the concept of the plant clinic is introduced and then the services which a plant clinic can provide to the farmers are investigated. Criteria for assessing the performance of plant clinics are reviewed to obtain an appropriate and reliable methodology to evaluate the efficiency of these clinics. The characteristics of successful plant diagnosis networks in collaboration with farmers and other entities are presented. Finally, several national and international plant diagnosis networks are introduced and their impact on global agricultural extension is discussed.