Just four years and PlantVillage has changed the community in Bungoma and Busia

Posted on January 5, 2022

In October 2021, I had an opportunity to join my colleagues from the PlantVillage Dream Team in Bungoma and Busia counties. I stayed there for two weeks, learned and interacted with the lead farmers.

The experience was not only amazing but educative as well. Every day was a learning session, so it was so impactful to me.

As a researcher and expert in agriculture and biotechnology, I must say that what the farmers are doing here in Busia is fascinating. Normally, the day starts at 8 am EAT (12 am EST ) to 5 pm EAT (9 am EST). 

Most of these hours are spent in the field with farmers, training them on various agricultural activities, including assessing the well-being of cassava, our main crop that we recommend to farmers in a bid to fight hunger brought about by climate change.

Field extension officer Daniel Njapit training a lead farmer on how to use the AI powered PlantVillage Nuru app. (Photo- Daniel Njapit)

Everyday, my fellow PlantVillage extension research officers are up in arms in the field with lead farmers to ensure maximum production even with the minimum resources.

Through this, farmers have been empowered not only with information but with smartphone technology used in scanning for diseases in cassava and other crops. The phones are installed with the PlantVillage Nuru app, which has different features that help farmers in their activities.

Testimony from lead farmers

Mr. Omollo, a lead farmer in Funyula, Busia county, said that PlantVillage has not only empowered farmers here but also changed the entire community. Farmers can now grow their crops with less worry about diseases, which are a major problem in cassava production.

Mr. Omollo proudly told me that they now have information which has empowered them, alongside skills, and that can be seen from the improved production.

A farmer in Busia after harvesting her cassava produce that she grew with the help of PlantVillage. (Photo- PlantVillage field officer)

Words from Mr. Omollo were echoed by Mr. Wilson Baraza, another lead farmer, who said that they can now get clean cassava cuttings, which they use for propagation. He added that they get trained on different farming aspects, such as Integrated Pest Management (IPM).

With PlantVillage here for about four years now, one can easily note the change in the communities in Bungoma and Busia. Most farmers here now have success stories about their cassava farming thanks to PlantVillage.

- Story by Daniel Njapit


 

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