Plantwise Blog

CABI’s new digital learning platform, the CABI Academy, is now available for free for users in Rwanda.  

The digital courses are designed for agricultural extension and advisory service providers. They provide important practical advice and resources to participants to grow their knowledge and provide the best possible advice to farmers.

CABI Academy badge

CABI Academy Supporting teachers and trainers 

The courses are a series of interactive exercises and resources on diagnosing and managing pests and diseases. The materials work well for self-study, all the information and context required is provided.  

There are currently two interactive courses available for free in Rwanda –  Crop Pest Diagnosis and Crop Pest Management. Together they provide a comprehensive methodology to diagnose and proactively control pests and diseases. 

These courses are currently in English, with French and Kinyarwanda translations available soon. 

Crop Pest Diagnosis 

The Crop Pest Diagnosis course features 15 hours of training across five modules, over 400 knowledge checks and 1,000 images for symptom recognition. The course supports field-based diagnosis using the Diagnostic Field Guide and covers pathogens, pests and nutrient deficiencies. 

Crop Pest Management 

The Crop Pest Management course helps users to apply the principles of an Integrated Pest Management approach to pest and disease management to real-world scenarios. It supports them to make good, informed decisions without the use of the most hazardous chemicals. It includes key areas such as economic considerations, bacteria, oomycetes, fungi, insects and mites as well as viruses. 

Crop Pest Diagnostic Simulator App 

The topics covered in the courses are reinforced by the Crop Pest Diagnostic Simulator App which gives students the chance to test their learning on plant diagnosis. They can zoom in on symptoms, turn the plant around and even ‘cut’ it open and look inside. 

The Crop Pest Diagnostic Simulator App, available free on Google Play © CABI

CABI Academy Building on Plantwise’s success 

Plantwise plant clinics have been operating in Rwanda since 2011. The clinics have helped smallholder farmers to manage the sometimes-devastating crop diseases and pests, such as fall armyworm. The clinics provide easily accessible source of current, timely and practical advice. Studies have shown that, in Rwanda, farmers that used the advice from plant clinics saw increases of up to 127% in the yield of crops such as beans, bananas and maize. 

The Plantwise programme’s success in Rwanda, highlights the importance of good agricultural advice for farmers. Agricultural advisory services can confirm causes and suggest effective, accessible, and pragmatic solutions to pest problems.

CABI Academy Strengthening agricultural advice 

Plant Clinic
Plant clinic © CABI

The CABI Academy aims to strengthen agricultural advisory services by equipping the right people with the necessary skills and knowledge. It builds on CABI’s scientific and publishing background to provide digital learning courses, designed to strengthen agricultural advice for farmers. Learners can improve their skills and knowledge without the restrictions of time or location. This allows even more individuals to develop advisory skills that will help farmers lose less of what they grow and maximise the yield potential of their crops. 

Over 90% of Rwandans are dependent on agriculture. However, crop losses from pests and diseases can have a devastating effect on the livelihoods of rural communities. In Sub-Saharan Africa, in particular, crop losses due to pests are predicted to be between 40% to 60%. The fall armyworm, for example, was confirmed on the continent in 2016 and has the potential to cause annual maize losses of about 8 to 20 million tons in just 12 countries. 

CABI’s expertise

CABI has a deep understanding of face-to-face training. CABI’s on-the-ground expertise in development communications and agricultural extension has helped thousands of smallholder farmers apply tried and tested agricultural practices that improve yields. As a digital learning platform, the CABI Academy has the potential to amplify this impact. Digital media can complement other traditional forms of training to deliver high quality, more accessible, self-paced and adaptive learning than allows agricultural advisory service providers to better support farmers. 

Find out more about the CABI Academy courses 

Further information

CABI’s Digital Learning Team as part of the CABI Academy also provides a range of other services that include consultancy and learning design as well as the platform itself.

Using the Skills Framework for Agriculture as our base, we can help you to devise a sustainable strategy for training and performance improvement. In addition, our team of user researchers, learning designers, user experience specialists, graphic designers and testers are available to help you create high-impact experiences and resources. The CABI Academy is provided in partnership with Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA), the University of Neuchâtel in Switzerland, SciDev.Net and NextGenU.org

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