Climate change is already affecting agricultural production in Africa threatening food security. Chapter 4 of the foresight Africa 2020 report says,
“As climate change threatens means of production and the nutrition of the continents people, policies centered around leveraging science and digital technology and addressing fragility hold the greatest promise to address FOOD SECURITY challenges”
Digital technology has helped transform the lives of farmers. Platforms such as PlantVillage Nuru have increased agricultural productivity through a diagnostic and monitoring tool. Farmers can use artificial intelligence to analyze the leaves of their crops, get a diagnostic and know how to appropriately treat the problem and monitor the quality of their crops. One can also monitor biomass on a plot of land and get insights on how their crops are developing.
The following are what some of the farmers in Busia County have to say about how PlantVillage is addressing some of the challenges they are facing in farming.
The challenges I am facing as a farmer in Tangakona in Nambale include lack of adequate information on timely planting weather. I also face challenges in the mitigation of diseases and crop management in general.
PlantVillage has helped me select good seed for planting by discovering diseases early and managing it. PlantVillage has provided me with weather alerts at least one can predict when the rains are falling.
Figure 1 Screenshot from Maurice Olabo
The challenges I am facing as a farmer from Kokare in Teso North include climate change. Also, my plants get affected by pests and diseases.
PlantVillage has helped me differentiate between clean seeds and unhealthy seeds. It has also enabled me to become an experienced cassava farmer.
Figure 2 screenshot from Dorine Ekea
The challenges I am facing as a farmer in Okatekok in Nambale include natural calamities, marketing, and finance. Also, moles are affecting my crops. Another challenge includes climate change.
PlantVillage has helped me identify types of diseases through the smartphone offline application and also provided me with the knowledge to know the symptoms of crop diseases. I also learn more from the SMS program and from the farmers training that happens in our Area.
Figure 3 Screenshot from Anne Mutua
The challenges I am facing as a farmer in Chakol North Ward in Teso South involve seeds. The seeds I get are normally unhealthy and available during the drought season. I also lack the market for my cassava cuttings.
Through PlantVillage, I now have knowledge about diseases affecting cassava and maize. It has helped me identify where and who plants clean seeds. It has also helped me access clean seeds for planting.
Figure 4 screenshot from Moses Odwali
Written By: Mercyline Tata