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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 crop diseases and other agricultural services. He was also a community health volunteer around Munongo village and helped as a caregiver to support children to acquire primary...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 small holder farmers in Kenya are able to improve their livelihood when they produce more healthy crops.
I’d say healthy crops, wealthy Kenyan farmers!
Dream Team blog...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 August. The PlantVillage dream team, composed of 11 Moi University graduates, has been located in Busia, Kenya for the past 5 months, meeting with farmers and engaging in the...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 hills. On the hills, you won’t miss crops growing in between the rocks you would think it’s an intercrop of maybe maize and rocks or cassava and rocks. These rocks,...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 according to the natural features and socio-cultural activities practiced in the area by then. Some of these areas include:
Kokare- they named the place after the celebrations...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 lead farmers, their following farmers and attending their group meetings. Our presence in the area has transformed their perspective way of thinking that cassava diseases are...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 streak as well as cassava mosaic. These viruses are capable of destroying farmers’ fields if no intervention is offered leaving them with nothing to harvest. On the...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 to hear from new people who come to their place.
It is every morning’s trend to see students and farmers on bicycles headed to their day’s business. Almost...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 communities to help boost crop yields by disseminating knowledge in the face of climate change. Currently, we are 12 members strong. Most of the Dream team is composed of 5 groups...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 as a suitable choice in East Africa where the rains are becoming more erratic due to climate collapse. We wrote about this recently on PlantVillage
Cassava is capable of sustaining...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 drought is foreseeable is growing increasingly clear,” he said on Tuesday, noting that their data shows that May would come and go without any rain.
The period has also...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 bean.
We wanted to use this blogging platform to share stories of how the information tool is being experienced by the farmers. We want to share these stories also because we...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 the use of our Arificual Intellgence that works inside the phone to diagnose crop diseases.
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 and Pete helped count the nymphs on the sticky bands. Throughout one day, the maximum sticky bands they were able to replace was 19 with four people. However this past time we...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, Zimbabwe and with colleagues in Ghana and Burundi. Nuru was also used by farmers in Kenya and Uganda. So, in just two weeks Nuru was used for fall armyworm in 7 African...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 here http://www.agriculture.pa.gov/Plants_Land_Water/PlantIndustry/Entomology/spotted_lanternfly/Pages/default.aspx
It is therefore really important to know where the pest is...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 variation in environmental factors.
The occurrence and implications of crop-pathogen-environment interactions need to be understood, considered and managed in research on crop...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 now head of Google AI. Turns out Jeff used to live in Uganda and is very knowledgeable about Cassava which is great :)