Enable smallholder African farmers manage crop pests and diseases, farm smarter, increase crop production, save livelihoods and environment.
State of fall armyworm in Africa
Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)
KoFarmer Is an on and offline free-easy-to-use multilingual plant doctor and advisory mobile application designed to help African smallholder-farmers and extension workers to accurately identify, monitor and manage crop pests and diseases, increase crop production, save environment and improve livelihoods.
Farmers, their families and our growing population depend heavily on secure harvests.
However, plant, pests like Fall armyworm (FAW), diseases, weeds and soil nutrient deficiencies cause a loss of 15-40% of the absolute production volume in agriculture. The control of plant damage has major bottlenecks: the classification of the damage is based on expert knowledge as is the recommendation for appropriate treatment and prevention. The vast majority of farmers have little to no access to such services and knowledge especially when they are needed.
Just by user taking and uploading a photo/s of the plant part affected by the pest or disease on KoFarmer, within few seconds app provides an accurate diagnosis report and offers user instant management recommendation options towards pest management. App also offers an offline SMS platform for non-Internet-enabled mobile phone users that rely on SMS for data transmission to access timely and context-appropriate information through farmer-tailored SMS alerts/tips.
Through a “Let’s connect forum” app allows users to social-network with other farmers, extension workers and experts in real-time for knowledge and information exchange, new ideas, ask questions, share pest management best practices and space for data collection, sharing, reporting and communication, including a community-informants-network who work as farmers' watch-dogs.
KoFarmer Pests and Diseases Catalog provides an up-to-date descriptive information database to help users find relevant information in the management of fall armyworm and other pests/diseases.
Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)
Mainly African Smallholder-farmers, ministries of agriculture, agronomists, and agricultural experts.
Our services cut across all our beneficiaries: Just by taking a picture with a phone, they can analyze crops for damage and take informed actions. KoFarmer delivers a diagnosis in seconds based on AI and a constantly growing network of community members. Its multilingual catalog consists of hundreds of types of damage with information about symptoms, prevention, as well as mechanical, cultural, biological and conventional treatment options. Every user strengthens the app’s forum, the place where farmers and experts engage a thousand times a day and find help and localized solutions in their language. KoFarmer holds the largest structured database on plant damage. This data enables real time monitoring of the occurrence and spread of crop problems, which is key for warnings and the strategic fight against pests at a national or international level for rapid development.
Bundibugyo residents are living in fear of famine following a double attack by fall army worms and variegated grasshoppers on crops. Whereas the worms attack maize in the field, the grasshoppers are decimating cassava, maize, banana, cocoa and any other green matter they come across.
Maize farmers in south western Uganda are counting losses after fall army worms invaded their gardens – laying waste to thousands of hectares of maize crops. Unlike the maize stem borer, the fall army worm multiplies highly and spreads very fast like bush fire once it gets into the garden.
Farmers in central Uganda are battling the fall army worm which is destroying most of their crops. They say efforts to contain the pest are being hampered by fake pesticides on the market
This video shows the effect of fall Armyworm in Malawi and an interview with a farmer who has lost much of his crop to the pest and is struggling to feed his family.
Farmers in countries across eastern Africa, who have already been struggling with devastating drought, are facing a new threat.
How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)
Our model is unique in that we improve food security and farmer livelihoods, enable farming communities to lead healthier lives, and prevent damage to the environment from unsustainable practices.
Secondly, in an era of digital advancement like we are, smartphones and internet are becoming more and more common in rural Africa. KoFarmer comes as the first digital app in Africa to help smallholder farmers to accurately identify pests/diseases and offer preventive measures to users for immediate pest management actions.
We bring meaningful technology to millions of smallholders and give their very urgent questions the priority they deserve. Our AI delivers reliable results for more than 200 plant problems within seconds. Our online Let's Connect Forum connects farmers and specialists in unprecedented numbers and uses AI to help them find the answers that suit them best. No competitor in Uganda or Africa has such broad focus, wide reach and quality.
Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)
Initial Design: I am exploring the idea, gathering the inspiration and information I need to test it with real users.
Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)
We a formal registration company working to bring about innovative tools that address the most pressing needs of the people in and around our communities.
Organization Filing Status
Yes, we are a registered company.
In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.
For millions of people across Sub-Saharan Africa, health crops have a difference between survival or starvation. Among many other challenges facing these rural farming communities is a new Fall armyworm putting millions of livelihoods in jeopardy. The fall armyworm is here to stay. Eradication of large-scale is not an appropriate or viable option but effective and sustainable management is both possible and critical.
Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).
Rural farming communities in Uganda is faced with the Fall Armyworm a new pest putting livelihoods in jeopardy. In its Larval stage fall armyworm threatens the production of more than 80 different crops with greater impact on smallholder maize farmers. With the loss of their crops and the like of other economic opportunities, affected families will find themselves in great hardship and may resort to migration. If left unchecked the fall armyworm could have a significant impact on the primary food source of more than 200 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa and lead to economic losses of more than $6.2 Billion for maize alone. Poorly managed responses to the pest can also have devastating effects on nature and human health. Investing in this program will move Africa to the 2030 SDGs by Improving Food Security and Farmer Livelihoods SDG1&2, Enabling farming communities to Lead Healthier Lives SDG3, and Preventing damage to the Environment from unsustainable farming practices SDG15.
Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)
Through partnership with Ministries of Agriculture, KoFarmer data/information shall be monitored, validated and analyzed by in-country experts who will work as our monitoring agents to ensure our services are timely and relevant for the users in that given community/country.
Partnership with FAO, CYMMIT, CGIAR, CABI, ECCAS, IITA and many other national and international agricultural bodies shall enable us to always provide updated and research-based, tested and approved tools and information relevant in pests and diseases prevention and management.
Results shall include outlining the Program of Action against the Fall Armyworm in Africa and provide a clear roadmap towards the sustainable management of the Fall Armyworm.
Engaging in this Program partners can empower farming communities and governments in Africa to withstand the current threat as well as to become more resilient to shocks in the future.
Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)
The need is agent and all our stakeholders are available and willing to work with us to drive our project services.
We intend to carry out a pilot study in Uganda however, webbing Africa is our ultimate goal.
How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)
We intend to carry out the design and development of the app within 12months,
There after carry-out a user-testing in 6 months.
Launch the platform within a period of 6 months.
Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)