International scientists have launched a pest risk information service in Kenya to help farmers in Sub Saharan Africa (SSA) in the fight against Fall Armyworm (FAW) and other crop pests.
The scientists from the Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International (CABI) developed the Pest Risk Information Service (PRISE) that uses state of the art technology in helping inform farmers on pest outbreaks that could devastate their crops and livelihoods.
“The technology will give farmers timely alerts and advice in person through their tablets or smart phones to enable them respond efficiently to risks posed by pests to their crops,” Cambria Finegold, CABI’s Global Director for knowledge management told journalists in Embu, eastern Kenya during a field visit on Thursday.
Finegold noted that the increased of invasive species of pests has necessitated the introduction of latest technology that involved the use of satellite and collaborations in ensuring that farmers makes benefit from their agricultural productivity.
She said that the technology will be used by farmers who work under plantwise clinics, a meeting place where local plant health extension officers known as plant doctors help farmers struggling with plant pests and diseases.
The scientist revealed that the five year project has also been launched in Zambia and Ghana and there are plans to launch three more in three SSA countries.
She said that the project that is funded by British Space Agency at a cost of 6.3 million pounds is currently looking at pests on maize, tomatoes and beans.
Finegold revealed that 500 farmers have been registered in Kenya and 107 subscribers in Zambia and 164 in Ghana respectively.