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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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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Farmers in Malawi to benefit from space-age technology in fight against devastating crop pests

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Farmers await for plant health advice at a plant clinic in Lilongwe, Malawi

Farmers in Malawi are the latest to benefit from a CABI-led consortium, funded by the UK Space Agency, which is providing a Pest Risk Information Service (PRISE) to fight pest outbreaks that could devastate crops and livelihoods across the country.

The service, which uses state-of-the-art technology to help inform farmers in sub-Saharan Africa – including Zambia, Ghana and Kenya where it is currently operating – gives farmers invaluable information to help them manage pests such as the fall armyworm that is already having a major impact in Africa and South East Asia.

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Plantwise helps with managing the invasive Fall Armyworm in Vietnam

A plant doctor inspects a farmer's damaged maize crop in Vietnam
A plant doctor inspects a farmer’s damaged maize at a recent plant clinic in Vietnam

During a recent visit to a plant clinic session in Vinh Phuc, Vietnam, first-hand evidence of this devastating invasive pest was shown to visiting CABI staff. A 76-year-old farmer, Madam Nguyen Thi Nam brought along damaged maize plant to seek advice from the plant doctor, Mrs Dang Thi Quynh Nga.

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How can tomato farming be improved in Kenya? Study finds producers face a ‘myriad of constraints’

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In a recently published paper in Scientific African, CABI’s Willis Ochilo led on a study which captured a better understanding of tomato producers in Kenya, describing in detail the production practices in order to identify challenges and opportunities for increasing tomato productivity for the country’s smallholder communities.

Tomato is a good source of vitamins A and C, and lycopene making it an important crop in terms of food and nutritional security for families in Kenya, and is in fact eaten in nearly all households across the country.

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CABI collaborates on innovative approach to tackling pesticide resistance evolution

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Southern armyworm (Spodoptera eridania) – a pest which is prevalent in Brazil ©Lyle J. Buss/University of Florida

CABI is joining an international team of scientists, led by the University of Stirling, to take a ‘revolutionary approach’ in attempting to tackle resistance to pesticides in insects with a specific focus on crops pests in Brazil.

The £620,000 study will see UK-based Dr Belinda Luke working on the mass production of fungal biopesticides and formulation development from CABI’s laboratories in Egham, Surrey, while Dr Yelitza Colmenarez, and Natália Corniani – from CABI’s centre in São Paulo, Brazil, will disseminate a range of associated training activities.

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Pop-up plant clinic proves popular at annual Agfair exhibition in Afghanistan

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A Plantwise plant clinic proved popular at the Farmer Festival and Spring Agfair exhibition, held last month in Badam Bagh Kabul, Afghanistan. The annual event, organized by the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock of Afghanistan brought together a diverse delegation of government officials, students, farmers, gardeners, and the general public, including visitors from outside Afghanistan.

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