Plantwise Blog

AUXFIN has teamed up with CABI as part of a mission to help around 400,000 smallholder farmers in Burundi fight crop pests and diseases and, therefore, grow healthier and profitable crops through the auspice of the Plantwise programme.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between AUXFIN and CABI, respectively by Mr Cornelis Heesbeen, CEO of AUXFIN, and Dr Morris Akiri, Senior Regional Director, at CABI Africa, that will allow AUXFIN to benefit from CABI’s extension materials in its work with smallholder farmers – including use of the Plantwise Knowledge Bank.

AUXFIN’s mission is ‘financial access for all’, essential for the development of agricultural value chains. It will use CABI-produced fact sheets, Pest Management Decision Guides (PMDGs) as well as pictures in the Plantwise Knowledge Bank, participate as observers during plant doctor trainings, record videos and take photos for use in their AgriCoach platform for smallholder farmers in Burundi.

AgriCoach is the digital application in the Universal Method of Value Access (UMVA) system for farmers which helps in solving ‘when’, ‘what’ and ‘how’ to achieve best agricultural solutions. Farmers are able to select best-suited crops for their fields per season and plot type on the basis of the current weather condition for their location.

Mr Heesbeen said, “AUXFIN will assist Plantwise to popularize plant clinics – especially in areas where farmers are organized into groups of 50, referred as G50 – under the AgriCoach platform. 

“Whereas AgriCoach is meant to be used and applied by the smallholder farmers in the field, the plant doctors and the clinics will be consulted with regard to diagnosis and management of plant health issues.

 “AUXFIN can help CABI to communicate the date when plant clinics are held and guide the farmers in their network towards the plant doctors to solve their problems.”

The AgriCoach platform also provides pest, disease and weather information to farmers in the local language as well as in French and English. It also contains financial services, digital extension services and linkages to input and out markets.

André Jellema, Agricultural Programme Manager at AUXFIN, said, “For AUXFIN the Plantwise knowledge Bank is a great international resource to have access to the latest scientific insights on how smallholder farmer can best treat pest and diseases. Meanwhile AUXFIN will help CABI to add the Kirundi language to their database.”

Dr Akiri said, “By complementing the services of AUXFIN’s AgriCoach platform with the very best paper-based and digital online extension materials and capabilities provided by Plantwise, smallholder farmers in Burundi will be better equipped to utilise Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies to increase their yields and livelihoods.”

So far, the partnership has already seen one staff (Niyomwungere Desire) from Auxfin Kayanza visit Plantwise trainings in Gitega, from 9th  to 11th June, to learn about Plantwise and observe CABI trainers deliver IPM training to extension workers, on various biological, cultural and chemical methods for tackling a range of pests and diseases including the devastating Fall armyworm(Spodoptera frugiperda).

The collaboration has also seen AUXFIN enlisted in the 10 member steering committee (SC) for Plantwise Burundi which was established on 1st June.

Additional information

Photo: CABI’s range of extension materials – including digital offerings through the Plantwise Knowledge Bank – will help AUXFIN’s work to help smallholder farmers in Burundi increase their profits, through better yields, as part of the MoU agreement (Credit: CABI).

About AUXFIN

AUXFIN aims to deliver financial solutions that are accessible to all, including vulnerable populations with low literacy and numeracy skills, limited access to internet, no- or low access to electricity, and limited experience with mobile and other technologies. Find out more here: http://www.auxfin.com/#about

About Plantwise

Since its launch in 2011, CABI’s Plantwise programme has been introduced to 34 countries in Africa, Asia and the Americas. The aim was to increase food security and improve rural livelihoods by reducing crop losses. This was achieved by establishing sustainable networks of local plant clinics, run by trained plant doctors, where farmers receive practical plant health advice. Working in close partnership with over 170 in-country partners, Plantwise strengthened national plant health systems from within, enabling countries to provide farmers with the knowledge they need to lose less of what they grow.

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