This year theme of international youth day 2021 is transforming food system; Youth innovation for Human and Planetary Health’ with an aim of highlighting the global success achieved with participation of young people. The world has about 1.2 billion people aged between 15 and 24 years, making up 16% of the world’s population. With this enormours pool of potential,it is important to encourage young people to participate in feeding the world.
PlantVillage has engaged youths from local Universities in Kenya, Burkina Faso and Tanzania. The young graduates commonly referred to as Dream Team deploy technology, skills and knowledge to smallholder farmers and pastoralist community. The Dream Team uses digital technologies such as PlantVillage mobile apps that combines artificial intelligence, machine learning and satellite data.
As we mark the international youth’s day 2021 on 12th August, we highlight the amazing impact PlantVillage Dream Team have made in protecting food security by using climate change adaptation technologies.
Transboundary pest monitoring to protect the livelihood of farmers
A group of more than 40 agriculture graduates from Kenya, Burkina Faso and Northern Tanzania interact with local farming communities to achieve food security. The team uses PlantVillage Nuru mobile app to survey farmers’ field and diagnose pest and diseases in maize, cassava and now potato. The application provides offline diagnostic and advice on management depending on the disease identified. The Dream Team collects data that is useful to researchers, experts, engineers as well as farmers and also provide free extension services to farmers.
PlantVillage Nuru innovation has helped thousands of farmers to improve productivity and income by protecting crops from diseases and pests (such as fall armyworm and locust) and adapting to climate change.
East Africa was facing the worst desert locust outbreak as at 2020. PlantVillage deployed a youth team of 52 locust scouts in northern Kenya coordinated by Melodine Jeptoo. The scouts were provided with smartphones equipped with elocust3m app powered by PlantVillage and sent out to track and report locust sightings. This is estimated to preserve the livelihood of 34 million people according to FAO.
Digitization has the potential to transform food systems and build a more sustainable future with young people in the lead.
Written By;Mercyline Tata