Indian farmers using smartphones to fight fast-moving crop killer

By Eric Marx. Reblogged from Ethical Corporation.

Plantix is a diagnostic app that uses image recognition software and AI. It is being used to halt the advance of the fall armyworm pest.

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An app that uses artificial intelligence to identify plant disease is being deployed in India as an early-warning system to stop the advance of a crop-destroying caterpillar that is having a devastating impact on maize crops in Africa.

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The Value of Testing

Reblogged from the Nesta blog.

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A tester configuring one of the solutions, Photo credit: CABI

The crop damage caused by fall armyworm has put millions of livelihoods at stake across Sub-Saharan Africa. Its rapid spread has been projected to cause losses valuing $2.5 billion to $6.2 billion per year if left unabated.[1] Fall armyworm has caused havoc for smallholder farmers across the region and become a serious threat to food security.

To help those affected, Feed the Future has been simultaneously trying to solicit new tools that communicate emerging research and information on how to battle the invasive pest to African farmers while also trying to ensure that those tools perform accurately and consistently. The Fall Armyworm Tech Prize is striking this balance–the competition is incentivizing innovators to submit solutions, but will only pay to reward those tools that are successfully tested in the field. One critical step in the prize process is testing to ensure that the 20 finalists selected actually work for the end-users’ contexts. Testing enables us to confidently say that the proposed solutions stand a good chance of mitigating the spread of fall armyworm.

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Twenty Innovators Selected to Tackle Fall Armyworm in Africa with Digital Solutions

By Lauren Bieniek. Reblogged from Agrilinks.

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It’s hard to believe that a small worm could destroy millions  millions of tons of crop yields, millions of dollars in farm income and millions of tons of food for families.

I’m talking about the Fall Armyworm (FAW), an invasive pest that has spread quickly across the African continent. Originally from the Americas, FAW was first reported in West Africa in early 2016 and now seriously threatens food supplies across the continent.

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New challenge prize aims to tackle fall armyworm in Africa

t47a98271.jpgA new challenge prize to help find the latest technology to combat the devastating impacts of the fall armyworm, which attacks over 80 different plant species, has today launched.

CABI will form part of the judging panel for the Fall Armyworm Tech Prize – which is being spearheaded by Feed the Future with financial support from Land O’Lakes International Development and the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research – and will test the winning entries before they are implemented in the field.

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