Aerobotics: Supporting precision agriculture across Africa

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Aerobotics are one of a number of companies incorporating the use of unmanned drones to promote crop pest and disease management (© Pexels)

Aerobotics, a Cape Town-based agritech startup company has recently partnered with the South African Federation of Agricultural Organisations (AgriSA) to launch a free data service for farmers using a range of spectral imaging technology.

As a company, Aerobotics specialises in farm monitoring processes using a number of modern spectral imaging technologies, including satellite and drone aerial imaging as well as incorporating AI technology to target crop pest and disease management.

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Update: New Pest & Disease Records (06 July 2019)

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This month’s pest alerts include the first reports in Zakopane, Poland of the western conifer seed bug Leptoglossus occidentalis  and Sceliphron destillatorium (© Pexels)

We’ve selected a few of the latest new geographic, host and species records for plant pests and diseases from CAB Abstracts. Records this month include new species of Hexamermis Steiner parasitizing Epilachna paenulata in Argentina, the first record of the family Meenoplidae (Hemiptera: Fulgoromorpha) from Pakistan and the first reports of the western conifer seed bug Leptoglossus occidentalis in Zakopane, Poland. Continue reading

Diverse user testing groups critical for downloads and sustained usage of agricultural apps

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For poor, rural communities, agriculture is seen as a pathway out of poverty and when considering agricultural development, we often look to digital solutions; ICT for development. But how much are these technologies taken up and more importantly, actually used by their target end users?

In a recent paper, published in Journal of Agricultural & Food Information, CABI authors used the Plantwise Data Collection (PDC) App as a case study to examine the factors impacting user acceptance and behaviour when interacting with an app for agricultural extension in Kenya.

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Test your plant health knowledge with the plant doctor quiz

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>> Latest quiz just added

Plantwise plant doctors are at the heart of our plant clinic network providing advice and information to farmers, logging their data for the Plantwise Knowledge Bank, and always adapting to new outbreaks and technologies.

Think you’ve got what it takes to be a plant doctor? Take our online plant health quiz and find out! Continue reading

Transforming farmers and plant doctors into pest-smart agents in their communities

By Sathis Sri Thanarajoo. Reblogged from the CGIAR research program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security blog.

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Farmers showing active interest for Pest-Smart practices in Ekxang Climate-Smart Village. Photo: Arnaud Costa (CABI)

Pest-Smart program aims to increase the awareness of farmers on alternative pest-related practices and enhance the capacity of plant doctors in dealing with pests and diseases.

Farmers and plant doctors in Ekxang Climate-Smart Village (CSV) in Laos were trained on biologically-based alternatives to agrochemcicals used in vegetable production on 24 October 2018. Three women farmers, 16 men farmers and five plant doctors from the Plant Protection Center (PPC) participated in the training that was organized as part of the Pest-Smart project. The project, funded by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), aims to develop pest-smart technologies and practices in CSVs. In the long run, it aims to foster communities that can address pests and diseases in a “climate-smart” manner.

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CABI collaborates on new research which suggests crop pests more widespread than previously known

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Insects and diseases that damage crops are probably present in many places thought to be free of them, new research shows.

Pests that have not been reported in a certain area are usually assumed to be absent, but analysis by the University of Exeter shows many pests are “currently unobserved, but probably present” (a likelihood of more than 75%).

The study identified large numbers of pests in this category in China, India, southern Brazil and some countries of the former USSR.

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Agriculture should be a source of pride and a good economy

The 2019 European Development Days (EDD), held 18-19 June in Brussels focused on ‘addressing inequalities: building a world which leaves no one behind’. CABI convened a panel at this year’s edition on inequalities in agriculture and how these are a threat to sustainable development, preventing farmers from reaching their potential.

EDD is an annual event which brings together the development community to share ideas and experiences in ways that inspire new partnerships and innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. CABI’s panellists brought a wealth of experience, discussing how cross-sectoral collaborations in agriculture are the only way to build a world which leaves no one behind.

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