The Plant Doctor Game app provides an insight into the problems faced by smallholder farmers.
Photo: © CABI

An app to help visitors to Expo Milano 2015 understand food security

The Plant Doctor Game, a video game specially developed for the Swiss pavilion at Expo Milano 2015, enables visitors to step into the shoes of a smallholder farmer who needs to protect his or her crops. The Swiss Development Cooperation will showcase its commitment and capacity for innovation in this domain at the Expo.

At the Swiss pavilion at EXPO 2015 Milano, Italy, the Swiss development Cooperation (SDC) invites visitors to get more insights into food security issues while playing “The Plant Doctor Game”. The game starts by briefing players about the context. Players receive some information about the situation of the world’s smallholder farmers and a general outline of the role and activities of the plant clinics that have been set up world-wide. Then the game begins in earnest. Players are shown a photo of a food and have to guess its main ingredient (coffee, cocoa, maize, etc.). They then meet the farmer who produces the ingredient, before being invited to step into the farmer’s shoes and choose the right time to sow the crop.
At this point, things take a turn for the worse: the crops are suddenly struck by disease. Players have to take action to ensure the food security of both their own family and many other people. They will have to seek the aid of a plant doctor in order to identify the disease and determine the most effective way to treat it.

The interactive Plant Doctor Game sets out to show how modern technology can be used to improve the lives of smallholder farmers. Players aim to earn as many ‘food security points’ as they can – they will then be able to compare their scores with other players and add their points to the total achieved by all the participants.

1,500 plant clinics in 34 countries

The Plantwise project, which was launched by the Centre for Agricultural Bioscience International (CABI), an institution supported by a number of bodies including the SDC, has created an online database that links more than 1,500 plant clinics in 34 countries. The information gathered in the database will make it possible to diagnose plant conditions and offer appropriate treatment.

In the field, plant clinics are set up at local markets, places of worship and other locations that are easy for smallholder farmers to access. Smallholder farmers can go to the clinics for practical advice on how to manage their crops and fight disease and pests. On a world-wide scale, almost 500 million smallholder farmers are feeding two thirds of the global population.

Crop diseases and pests can have devastating effects on their food security and their income.In Milan, Switzerland intends to highlight its commitment to food security, which focuses on sustainability, responsibility and solidarity and innovates while respecting each country’s traditions. The right to food world-wide is a priority for Switzerland.

(SDC/wi)

For more information:

The app is now available for downloading to a smartphone or computer. It was developed by Plantwise, the SDC partner behind the creation of plant clinics.

«Plant Doctor Game» (Apple / Android) 
Plantwise
Plant clinics and plant doctors
Swiss pavilion at Expo 2015 Milano