KENYA – Corteva Agriscience, US based agriculture solutions provider has launched an application in Kenya to link farmers to agricultural experts, who will provide them with agronomic advice on weeds, diseases and pest control.
The mobile application, dubbed Corteva FarmFundi, has been developed in partnership with Plantix and provides an easy-to-use, digital pest and disease identification guide for farmers.
Mr Charles Mutema, Marketing Manager Corteva Agriscience Kenya said, “Our collaboration with Plantix allows us to combine the very best of innovative mobile farming technology with the keen insights and vast expertise of our technical teams; helping to mitigate potential impacts to livelihoods and food security.”
Once threats are accurately identified using the app, farmers can consult with Corteva’s specialised crop scientists and local agronomists for treatment recommendations via e-mail or the web links provided.
The app is available to farmers at no cost in English, Afrikaans, Swahili, French and Arabic from the Apple® iOS and Google Android™ app stores.
It enables farmers to upload or scan pictures, along with a short description of symptoms and accompanying notes, enabling timeous risk management and prevention.
Experts are also able to update and transfer the latest information on new, emerging pests and trends in real time.
While internet access is required for downloading the app as well as subsequent updates, farmers can still access essential information offline; an important feature for users who do not have access to a mobile connection while out in the field.
Researchers estimate that invasive species alone cost Africa’s agricultural sector US$74.3 billion each year, compounded by an approximate US$21.5 billion worth of crop losses inflicted by insects and other pests.
The most critical part of managing crop failure is correctly identifying the cause so that appropriate solutions can be implemented, and costly mistakes avoided.
Crop pests are recognised worldwide as a serious challenge to agricultural production and are a real threat to food security, especially in Africa.
Farmers report that yields losses experienced due to pests significantly affect net income, whilst undermining other livelihood assets.
The platform will also save farmers essential time and resources spent on physical movement to seek and access expert advice, and is expected to impact positively on food security and resilience in Kenya.
With the increasing demand for healthier, quality food, against the backdrop of COVID-19, the Corteva FarmFundi app also delivers on Corteva’s sustainability commitments; ensuring progress for generations to come.
The app was introduced in Kenya owing to high internet connectivity rates in the country, adding that Kenya was a pioneer in Africa in the application of mobile technology solutions.
Further digitizing agricultural services, Crop Nutrition Laboratory Services Ltd (Cropnuts), Africa’s leading independent laboratory for agricultural and environmental testing, recently launched AgViza, a disruptive AI based soil testing and digital crop advisory service for smallholder farmers.
The technology bundles soil testing, farmer training and specific agronomy advisory into an affordable digital service.
The platform’s bespoke artificial intelligence engine measures soil fertility properties, which allows it to deliver high-quality soil health management and fertilizer application advice to farmers via interactive SMS, backed up by trained local agronomists.