PlantVillage has partnered with the Malawi Plant Health Digital Service (MaDiPHS) to establish a digital plant health system aimed at predicting, identifying, monitoring, and managing pests and diseases.
The PlantVillage Nuru application has been selected as one of the monitoring tools used in the digital plant health system project, which will run for five years before it’s handed over to the Malawian government.
“The development of this digital tool is advantageous and offers a viable complementary option that supports extension officers, researchers, policymakers, and the farmer at large,” said Kevin Nyongesa, PlantVillage Malawi team lead.
Mr. Nyongesa added that the adoption of the strategy will be informed by evidence created in settings where application of the tool is intended.
Since PlantVillage extended its services in Malawi in November 2022, farmers have experienced a boost in the growth of healthy crops, which has led to increased production.
The team has managed to provide solutions to pests such as fall armyworm,Tuta absoluta, snails, beetles and potato blight affecting farmers in the region.
To reduce the use of chemicals in controlling pests, the team assists farmers with knowledge in integrated pest management (IPM), which is effective and environmentally friendly.
IPM reduces the heavy use of chemical pesticides and encourages the combination of biological, chemical, physical, and cultural strategies to manage pests. For example, the use of neem extracts to control beetles in beans, soybeans, and groundnuts and fall armyworms in maize.
“Digital agriculture improves efficiency in agricultural processes and results in improved yield with reduced cost and time by assisting farmers in getting the information they need in no time,” said Nyongesa.
The PlantVillage Malawi team is impacting farmers with knowledge in areas of pest and disease control and improved agronomic practices to help farmers intensify agricultural production in a sustainable manner through modern technologies and climate change adaptation such as climate smart agriculture, planting cover crops, conservation agriculture, and crop diversification.
The team aims at scaling up its activities, enhancing capacity building by training more farmers and developing partnerships with organizations of similar interests to increase farmer yield and profits amidst climate change.
PlantVillage Malawi is stationed in 10 EPAs within two districts, Dedza and Lilongwe.