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Improving lives by solving problems in agriculture and the environment

Simulation - taking plant health training to the next level

People in developing countries depend on what they can grow and sell so require a lot of plant health knowledge. The CABI-led Plantwise programme delivers plant health advice to farmers. Trained plant doctors diagnose the problems and advise on ways to manage them. Simulations are a new way to deliver training and information to plant doctors in a convenient and fun way, while capturing valuable data. This data capture and analysis will allow CABI and its partners to improve the programme.

Project Overview

So, what's the problem

People in developing countries are much more reliant on growing and selling crops, so getting timely and relevant plant health knowledge is vital. Plantwise is a global programme which takes global plant health research from the laboratory to the fields. Trained plant doctors carry-out field diagnoses and farmer consultations. However plant doctor training needs to continually improve and data is required so it can be delivered in an efficient way. 

What is this project doing?

In response, we have produced the Plant Doctor Simulator. This simulation is being used to train plant doctors to diagnose plant health problems. The simulator contains realistic 3D models and scenarios so that plant doctors and extension workers can learn diagnostic skills. These scenarios include all major pests and diseases of maize, cassava, tomato and cabbage. The ‘Plant Doctor Simulator’ is available on tablets via the google play store, and data is captured and analysed in a web portal.

The data recorded and analysed in the Plant Doctor Simulator will help to improve and refine Plantwise training modules, while also measuring plant doctor skills and competencies.

The second version of the Plant Doctor Simulator is due for release in 2016 and will be available via smartphones as well. This version will teach the principles of integrated pest management (IPM) to plant health workers. It too will have an advanced data capture and analysis component, as well as delivering hundreds of hours of gameplay and a vast amount of learning content.


Early results of our testing indicate that the new Plant Doctor Simulator is an effective training tool for plant doctors. It will also help Plantwise to gain an insight into the skillsets of its plant doctors and make improvements to its training programme accordingly.  

Find the simulator on google play:

The team

Project team

Staff image of Rob Reeder

Rob Reeder

Plantwise Data Manager

Staff image of Philip Taylor

Philip Taylor

European support for Plantwise

Staff image of Stefan Toepfer

Stefan Toepfer

Research Scientist Arthropod Biological Control; Integrated Crop Management Advisor

Staff image of Ulrich Kuhlmann

Ulrich Kuhlmann

Executive Director, Global Operations


  • Worldwide


  • Start: 01/01/2015
  • End: