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This month (August) marks a one year anniversary of PlantVillage Dream team in Kenya.
The Dream team is composed of young graduates tasked with offering extension services, field mapping, knowledge sharing and training of small holder farmer on how to use mobile technology to improve farming.
Dream team started with 10 graduates in August, 2019 and has since expanded to 12 Dream Team members in Busia, Kenya and 52 locust team members in Northern Kenya.
To celebrate 1 year of working closely with farmers, the team travelled to Iten for a team building exercise. Bonding activities included mountain climbing, siteseeing and fun games.
The team spend time to reflect on the one year activities and personal experiences such as exposure, growth, responsibility and team work.
Below are some of the Achievements celebrated,
Establishment of Demo plots.
The team established 4 demo plots of cassava and maize in Matayos, Samia, Angurai and Amukura regions. The demo plots offers a learning site for push-pull technology and farmers can see and learn how to control fall armyworm and striga weeds on maize. The cassava plots has clean cassava free from pest and diseases. Farmers can learn on cassava production and its management.
Establishment of 0.25 plots of clean cassava fields.
Source of clean cuttings has been a constant problem but now farmers are adopting to change and purchasing clean cuttings from reliable seed entrepreneurs.
PlantVillage also provided free and clean cuttings to 68 lead farmers for the 0.25 acre plot.This is promoting the culture of clean cassava free from diseases whereas other farmers can learn how to establish and maintain a clean cassava field from these lead farmers.
Expansion of PlantVillage farmers’ network.
The dream team has established a network of over a thousand Lead farmers, seed entrepreneurs and following farmers in Busia County. The team recently trained additional farmers on how to use PlantVillage Nuru smartphone application to diagnose cassava and maize crop diseases. PlantVillage has provided 102 smartphones to lead farmers who are motivated to take care of their neighbors by using PlantVillage Nuru app to detect diseases.
Establishment of social media networks
In addition, PlantVillage has expanded its outreach to other farmers on social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and YouTube. Through PlantVillage bot on PlantVillage Nuru Facebook page, farmers can ask questions and receive instant feedback. Through Our Social media, farmers can easily access agricultural knowledge and get inspired by other farmer’s success stories on our sites.
Expansion of PlantVillage SMS Services in Kenya.
In addition, the Dream team has enriched farmers’ knowledge via PlantVillage Free SMS services. Since its launch early this year,farmers has been joining the platform by texting JOIN to 20307. The SMS users list have grown exponentially to reach over ten thousand farmers across Kenya. Farmers can freely ask questions to experts and receive tips to help them improve productions.
From the past one year, the Dream team have learnt a lot from working with each other, working with farmers and other institution. The team expects more growth in all aspects, more partnerships with other organizations and expansion of Dream Team to other Counties and Countries in the coming years.
Written By;Mercyline Tata