British technology provides Kenyan farmers with early warning system for pest infestations

Spodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm)
Spodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm)

An early warning system developed by UK researchers will help prevent the devastation of Kenyan farmers’ crops.

After combining temperature data and weather forecasts with computer models, the Pest Risk Information Service (Prise) sends farmers a mobile phone alert so that they can take precautions.

It is hoped that the system will boost yields and increase farm incomes by up to 20%.

In addition to Kenya, Prise is also being used in Ghana and Zambia with plans for it to be rolled out soon in other parts of the world, and it is hoped that the system will boost yields and increase farm incomes by up to 20 per cent.

Uaing a network of so called “plant doctors” and clinics to advise farmers when pests or diseases destroy their crops, the system is an upgrade of a highly successful UK Aid scheme run by the Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International development charity (CABI). 

These “plant doctors” refer to a database using an app which helps them to diagnose the issue and then prescribe the right pesticide and other measures.

Early results are very encouraging with those using the service reporting an increase in average farm incomes and yields of 13 per cent.

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