The partnership will boost PlantVillage’s goal to eradicate global hunger among small-holder farmers and will back up its highly technological system, which has already proved effective in increasing food production in farms in Africa.
Agricycle now comes in to connect empowered rural communities to global solutions, pioneering a new way to eradicate extreme poverty, and providing a sustainable network for everyday solutions.
"Agricycle helped us understand the testing for microbial pathogens, allergens, and lead. One of our farmers, Josephine Arisat, passed with flying colors, and Agricylce agreed to pay her KSh65 per kilogram. This is a 102 percent increase over what she received from Tru Trade Africa at times and a 50 percent increase over the good prices she received.
"Agricycle wants at least 10 tons per month, and this will expand across Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda," said Dr. David Hughes, founder, and director of PlantVillage and Director of the USAID Innovation Lab on Current and Emerging Threats to Crops.
Dr. Hughes also noted that the benefits of scaling up the market initiative are amazing, but an amazing co-benefit is reducing food waste by training farmers on eradicating diseases and promoting the production of healthy tubers. "Our USAID Innovation Lab on Current and Emerging Threats to Crops is also part of a larger groups on Innovation Labs trying to reduce food loss and waste and this partnership with a leading private sector player (Agricycle) is critical" said Hughes .
The PlantVillage Nuru application, a highly advanced smartphone tool, is transforming on-farm pest and disease monitoring through artificial intelligence (AI) to help small-holder farmers better identify and manage cassava diseases quickly. This has led to an increase in yield and income.
"As Agricycle, we want to connect isolated citizens to markets, inputs, and services, as well as leverage group buying power to reduce the prices of those services and inputs. This collective purchasing power brings healthcare, clean water and sanitation, agricultural inputs, and training to the world’s most vulnerable.
"We want to network more with PlantVillage and ensure farmers plant disease-free cassava cuttings and varieties that attract better yields for the international market," said Patrick Nderitu, co-founder and director of East Africa Agricycle Global.
In Kenya, PlantVillage is already looking for ready cassava in Busia, Kilifi, Bungoma, Migori, Homabay, and Siaya for a link to the international market. Farmers can contact the PlantVillage field officer via phone at 254-791-712-310.
By Mercy Achieng