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Climate change has devastating effects to farmers in arid and semi-arid regions depending on rainfall for agricultural production.
To mitigate the water stress in agriculture, Tom Okinda from Mundika region in Busia County, has been practicing mulching.Tom started farming in 2007 after job retrenchment. Due to limited water, he started applying organic mulch on his crops and noticed how beneficial this practice was.
Mulching is the technique of...Read more
Each semester, PlantVillage at Pennsylvania State University, has a large following of undergraduates across all disciplines that work with us for credits. We want to honor their hard work and innovative abilities by sharing some of their stories. Please feel free to reach out to the PlantVillage team if you want to learn more!
Julieann Patarini - Hi! My name is Julieann Patarini and I'm a senior studying Biology. I've had the opportunity to grow up in...Read more
Moses Odwali is a Seed entrepreneur and a very dedicated farmer from Teso South, Busia County. He owns ½ an acre piece of land in Asing'e village where he has established his homestead, a zero grazing unit and farming land where he grows cassava and fodder crops. Due to limited land, He has leased an acre in the neighborhood to grow maize and cassava for cuttings and tubers.
Moses has set aside ¼ of his land as a Cassava demo plot. He has planted MM...Read more
PlantVillage AI engineers Rohit Gangupantulu and Peter McCloskey, have successfully utilized open access resources on GitHub to design and develop an image annotation software. The LOST (Label Objects and Save Time) tool allows our experts (located globally) and undergraduates at Penn State annotate images in batches, online, all within the web browser. This erases the need for annotators to: 1) be in our lab facility 2) need extra resources (hardware/software)...Read more
Stephen Wedaba is a remarkable farmer with PlantVillage diversifying in Cassava, sweet potatoes and tomatoes in Nambomboto, Busia County. Wedaba makes a fortune from tomato farming in his ¾ acre field. Despite low rainfall in his region, he does hand watering to his tomatoes to ensure the plants get adequate water supply. From an interview with him, this is what you need to know about tomato farming.
Conditions for tomato growing
Tomatoes thrive in...Read more
SMALL CASSAVA FARM, BIG HARVEST
Helen Barasa is a cassava agripreneur from Kajoro village, Nambale in Busia County. She started cassava production in the year 2000 and has since diversified to other crops like maize, soya and sweet potato.
Across the years, organizations such as Ministry of Agriculture, ARDAP, SHA and PlantVillage have helped her shift from Agriculture to Agribusiness.
Helen’s farm has fetched great interest from farmers and organizations...Read more
This month (August) marks a one year anniversary of PlantVillage Dream team in Kenya.
The Dream team is composed of young graduates tasked with offering extension services, field mapping, knowledge sharing and training of small holder farmer on how to use mobile technology to improve farming.
Dream team started with 10 graduates in August, 2019 and has since expanded to 12 Dream Team members in Busia, Kenya and 52 locust team members in Northern...Read more
Joseph Khaleke is a PlantVillage farmer from Kitale County Kesogon village whose goal is to be able to have a sustaining and well balanced food source from his farm by 2021. Joseph grows varieties of crops including different fruits. Currently, his farm has bananas, millet, passion fruits and sweet potatoes propagated for commercial purposes.
Joseph yields have increased from accessing Free farming knowledge from PlantVillage. He now...Read more
Bee farming is a profitable venture of keeping bees for productive purpose. Charles Sioka is an established bee keeper in Samia region Busia County. He sells pure honey and value added product like body creams. Charles has his own brand of body cream called Baselines body cream produced from bee wax, and other additives like honey and aloe Vera. If you want to start bee keeping,this is what you need to know.
What is the Cost of starting bee...Read more
Striga also known as witchweed is a parasitic weeds that affect cereal crops in many parts of Africa, reducing production to a complete loss of the crop. The most affected crops are maize, sorghum, rice and sugarcane. Striga weed puts its root onto the roots of maize or sorghum plant thus taking the food the maize or sorghum crop is trying to get from the soil. Each striga plant produce up to 20,000-50,000 seeds, which lie dormant in the soil until...Read more
Alice Otwane from Kamarinyang in Busia County is a small holder farmer planting Maize, sweet potatoes, cassava, banana, groundnuts, vegetables for both commercial and subsistence purposes.
As a parent, she practices agriculture to provide food and income for her family. Alice attributes her constant source of food to cassava crops because of their potential to manage multiple risks such as climate change and fluctuating market unlike maize which is planted...Read more
Conditions for Onion Farming
Onions perform well in well drained, fertile, sandy loam, non-compacted soils. The ideal pH is 5.8 to 6.8. Soil test with accredited laboratories is important.
The ideal temperatures onions need to grow are between 13 – 35 degrees centigrade. This means that onions can grow in most parts of Kenya. Onions are a cool season crop. Most areas in Ukambani and the Coastal region are extremely dry. 1 kg of seedlings can be used in 1 acre while 20...Read more
Sylvester Ouma is a farmer with PlantVillage from Bwiri location, Samia Sub County, Namuduru Sub Location, Ganga area. He is the local chief and the owner of one of the three aggregation centers in Busia County. The rest are in Teso North and Teso South.
This aggregation center was established in 2018 as a result of high demand from cassava farmers requesting cassava processing.
Sylvester acquired his processing machine from Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)...Read more
Amos Ejakati is a farmer with PlantVillage Nuru from Amagoro, Keng’atunyi Sub Location, Malaba South Ward in Busia County. He plants different crops like maize, banana, sweat potato and cassava.
Amos is devoted in ensuring the community within embrace change in their Cassava farming.
His Cassava farming has progressed ever since he learnt more about cassava and its pest and diseases from PlantVillage. He plants Mygeria and MK94 variety.
Hilda Murunga is a cassava seed entrepreneur in Busia County. Her cassava cuttings business has experienced increase in profits which she attributes her success to PlantVillage Nuru. She sells cassava variety mm96 6966.
This is what she had to say,
''I use PlantVillage Nuru app on my farm to scout my cassava plant. When I scan the cassava leaves, it shows the disease affecting my crop.
When the app detects cassava viral...Read more
Stages in post-harvest handling of common beans
Drying. Dry the common beans before threshing them. Thresh them before they properly dry results in damage on pods. Dry the pods on raised platforms, plastic, mat to avoid contact with moisture and other impurities.
It is advisable to do the threshing when the moisture level is 14-15%, If the seeds are too dry, the pods can be easily damaged during threshing, thresh the pods manually by beating with a...Read more
PLANTVILLAGE TESTIMONIAL: PART ONE
Nipande mihogo bora sio bora nipande mihogo
Joyce Apam from Busia County, Kenya is one happy farmer experiencing positive changes in her maize field after following the advice from PlantVillage.
When did you join PlantVillage?
I joined 2018 when PlantVillage was introduced in Busia County.
What advice do you get from PlantVillage?
PlantVillage gives weather updates. They also respond to questions asked through their...Read more
PlantVillage empowers small holder farmers by availing free Agriculture knowledge through mobile phones and farm visits.
Patrick Osangir, a PlantVillage farmer in Busia County, Teso North sub County, Angurai south ward has access to knowledge that help him grow more food.
What do you grow in your farm?
I plant mainly maize and cassava. I also plant tomatoes, bananas, beans, groundnuts and kales. Farming is a source of income that I use to pay bills such as...Read more
Desert locust are the most destructive migratory pest that ravages crops and threatens food security. A small swarm of locust consume the equivalent of food for 3500 people in just one day.
Currently, the horn of Africa is suffering its worst desert locust outbreak in decades. A second much larger wave of locusts is causing destruction on vast scale. The second generation breads to produce younger and more aggressive swarms that requires urgent control...Read more
Digital connectivity is vital in maintaining relations especially now with Covid_19 pandemic. PlantVillage has enforced work at home policy by operating virtually through mobile technologies. There is regular updates between staffs located in different countries via constant zoom call meetings. Also, the Dream team members’ makes regular phone calls to farmers to advise them on various agricultural aspects and how to use our mobile phone...Read more
Help flatten the curve by playing your part in the farm
Governments have issued directives urging people to stay at home and work from home to minimize spread of the Covid-19. The virus has affected the daily households operations including smallholder farmers. With planting season in play and farmers outsourcing farm workers to prepare the land or conduct other farming activities, it’s important for farmers to help with flattening the Covid-19 curve....Read more
PlantVillage SMS program to Target Kenyan Farmers
PlantVillage SMS program is a free to use mobile platform offering small holder farmers access to free pool of information.
The SMS program has grown exponentially since January 3rd, 2020 when the SMS service was officially launched and operational in Kenya. The SMS platform has provided thousands of farmers across different counties in Kenya an opportunity to register and get information on the best farm...Read more
PlantVillage is the frontline tool for the United Nations as it tackles locusts across East Africa which the United Nations considers a humanitarian issue affecting 19 million people. We also work for the UN on their global fall armyworm platform which is another pest insect causing losses of food from West Africa to China. PlantVillage operates via apps that run AI tools inside the...Read more
Josephine Arisat Earns from her Cassava Farming
Josephine Arisat from Asing’e location in Busia County has been growing Cassava since 1995. With climatic change and its consequences; root and tuber crops provides a suitable choice to her as they exhibit higher tolerance threshold to stress such as water and heat.
“Initially, I was planting Cassava for subsistence purpose in a two acre...Read more
Technologies to curb Fall Armyworm in Kenya
Kenya has always relied on maize production for it’s domestic as well as exports need. However, constraints such as drought, pests, and diseases have hindered this. The invasion of Fall Armyworm in Kenya has made an already bad situation worse.
Digital tools such as PlantVillage have put tremendous efforts in identifying the diseases and pest problems. PlantVillage Nuru is an offline Artificial Intelligence...Read more
TRIP TO ICIPE-MBITA, KENYA
The international Centre for insect physiology and ecology (ICIPE) was established in 1970 in direct response to the need for alternative and environmentally friendly pest and vector management strategies. ICIPE has its headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya and is mandated to conduct research and develop methods that are effective, selective, non-polluting, non-resistance inducing and which are affordable to resource-limited rural and...Read more
As you no doubt have seen East Africa is threatened by massive locusts swarms. In Kenya, they are the worse people have seen in 75 years. They threaten the livelihood of 19 million people according to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation.
After the last locust upsurge in 2003–2005, FAO developed a tool to enable national locust officers in frontline countries from West Africa to India to record observations in the field and transmit the data...Read more
Hello PlantVillage Community!
A fun break from our usual Dream Team blogs, we have an update on travel from the Penn State Team! Engineers, Pete McCloskey and Annalyse Kehs, traveled to India for 2 weeks from January 25 - February 8, 2020. We had the privileged opportunity to attend the Global Potato Conclave. The first 3 days were spent fruitfully engaging with other researchers in the potato space. We learned about new research being done on potato...Read more
Climate change is already affecting agricultural production in Africa threatening food security. Chapter 4 of the foresight Africa 2020 report says,
“As climate change threatens means of production and the nutrition of the continents people, policies centered around leveraging science and digital technology and addressing fragility hold the greatest promise to address FOOD SECURITY challenges”
Digital technology has helped transform the lives of...Read more
KUWA SHUJAA NA PLANTVILLAGE NURU
(Be a hero with PlantVillage...Read more
FARE THEE, WELL COMRADE
PlantVillage Nuru is saddened by the sudden demise of late Mr. Dunclapperton Omeru on 10th January 2020 and would like to express our deep condolences to the family of the deceased, who will be laid to rest on 24th January 2020.
Mr. Omeru worked with PlantVillage as a seed entrepreneur since last year in Busia County Kenya. He came across as a very active and spirited person who took part in reaching out to other farmers to educate them on...Read more
The Dream Team 2020 expectations
Buckle up! The bar has been raised.
Another year full of expectations and like everybody, Dream Team expects growth. With New Year come new expectations, new resolutions, new strategies, new goals and plans. Dream team members have also set their New Year expectations and we couldn’t wait to share with everyone to help us grow. The team is as ready as ever to take up their new roles and responsibilities in ensuring that...Read more
Happy New Year PlantVillage community! While 2019 is over and 2020 has begun, whether we were ready or not, there is plenty to reminisce about over the past year. Below is a brief highlight of the major events that occurred at PlantVillage during 2019.
Dream Team in Busia, Kenya
What started as a concept idea in June by Dr. John Chelal, plant pathologist lecturer at Moi University and PlantVillage’s project director, led to a full team deployment in...Read more
If you are a fitness enthusiast and a lover of nature, then you should have fun reading this. One day you wake up and, Hey, we’re heading up the hills. So here we have two places, “Apatit” and another “Akitu Kare” translated to “two” mouths by the locals. Funny, right?
So we head to the two mouths. The place is well endowed with beautiful rock structures and some tough...Read more
CULTURE AND BELIEFS OF TESO COMMUNITY.
The Teso people are plain Nilotes who came from Sudan and came to Kenya through Uganda where they separated with the Karamojong community who remained in Uganda. They are an ethnic group in Eastern Uganda and Western Kenya. The Kenyan group entered Kenya through Malaba. Malaba is a Teso name meaning “crossing”. They settled in some regions of around Busia county and named the place...Read more
Busia county has been our home base for the past four months. Butula, Budalangi, Matayos, and Samia are the sub-counties that we visit. These-sub counties are more diverse with different tribes mainly; Luyha, Luo and Iteso. This makes it easier for us to communicate with people around Swahili being the common language shared. Our main aim is to reach out to the small scale farmers and disseminate information which has been possible with the help of...Read more
Cassava is indispensable to food security in Busia. It is a staple food that is widely consumed, as it is a hardy crop that can be stored in the ground for a long period of time. It is used as a fallback source of food that can save lives during famine. Despite cassava being a major crop in the county, it has received relatively little attention compared to other Staples such as maize. The crop has long been threatened by the cassava brown...Read more
In the South of Mt. Elgon, Teso plains offer sandy loam soils where most of the tuber crops do very well. The Iteso tribe is one of the plain Nilotic groups that adopted farming rather than pastoralism. Cassava is the main crop found in this area. It is a source of food to almost every home and a cash crop for some of the farmers. They even have crisps and baking flour made from cassava. The Iteso people are so welcoming and most of them are eager...Read more
Hello, PlantVillage community! It has been quite the eventful and spectacular summer. We were fortunate to gain a new collaboration between us (PlantVillage at Penn State University), United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (UN FAO) and Moi University located in Eldoret, Kenya. This new partnership with Moi University began as an effort to engage and integrate Kenyan youth into agricultural and farming...Read more
Josephine is a farmer in Western Kenya who had a serious problem. In fact, more than one. She is one of the 28,000 farmers within the Self Help Africa (SHA) network, spread across 7 counties in Kenya. Through a large EU funded project SHA is building climate resiliency into these communities and promoting profit-making at the farm gate by helping farmers grow more cassava. This crop is widely recognized...Read more
The long rains in Kenya have failed according to Acting Deputy Director of Kenya Meteorological Department Bernard Chanzu quoted in the Nairobi News.
Mr Chanzu blamed the failed rains on climate change.
According to Mr Chanzu, there’s no immediate rainfall in the horizon and all the signs point to this state persisting to the end of the season.
“The bigger picture about prolonged dry spell which means a...Read more
As you may know, we have been beta testing our AI assistant, Nuru, that is capable of diagnosing cassava viral and mite diseases in Busia County, Kenya. We work with farmers in the Self Help Africa network. There are 28,000 farms in this network across 7 counties being helped by this excellent charity. The charity is trying to promote cassava which is a climate resilient crop. The farmers grow mainly maize, cassava, and...Read more
We wanted to create an overview of the PlantVillage app. We have both an android and iphone version. It is only the android version which can use the TensorFlow AI tool to diagnose diseases.
Here is an annotated guide to the PlantVillage app https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=plantvillage.nuru&hl=en
This is the first page you see
When you click on the flashing icon you see 4 choices
A key feature of PlantVillage is...Read more
From black instars to red to adult flies, the Spotted Lanternflies are quickly approaching their adult phase and the PlantVillage team is on top of it! Working closely with Don Seifrit, extension educator and Karen George, Master Gardener, we are continually collecting data from sticky bands down in the Reading and Lancaster areas. This past Wednesday, Annalyse and Pete went down again to capture more images and talk with locals on this pest.
In past visits, Annalyse...Read more
It has been just two weeks since Nuru was released in her Beta or test phase. Our goal is to get her out there and understand how she performs. The strength of Nuru is that she works off-line and so can be used across regions where internet connectivity is poor or not present. But of course, we have to make sure that the diagnosis that she is providing is correct. So, in these two weeks, we have been testing Nuru with scientists who work in UN FAO field offices in Ethiopia, Zambia,...Read more
The PlantVillage team is working on a problem that is locally important too. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is experiencing a big problem at the moment with an invasive insect called Spotted Lantern Fly. This is a plant-feeding insect that can cause a lot of damage to crops like grape, but also is a massive problem to the timber industry because it prevents exports from Pennsylvania to other states. You can learn more about that pest...Read more
By Rob Williams
We are all aware that different genotypes (varieties, cultivars) within a crop species can react very differently to pathogens and pathogen-vectors. This allows the selection and development of disease-resistant crop varieties.
We should also understand that the same crop genotype, i.e. a single variety or cultivar, can produce very different reactions to a specific pathogen even at one location in response to local...Read more
On March 30th we attended Google's TensorFlow summit where a documentary commissioned by Google featured our work using TensorFlow for cassava farmers. Amanda Ramcharan and Pete McCloskey from PlantVillage were joined by Latifa Mrisho from IITA. It was a very exciting event and wonderful to have Google feature us after many years of support. Many thanks to Pete Warden and Vint Cerf for their continued support.
Amanda, Pete and Latifa also got to meet Jeff Dean who is...Read more