Success story from a cassava farmer in Busia County, Kenya
PlantVillage Nuru, an AI smartphone assistant and 2019 Inspire Challenge Scale-Up Winner, is helping farmers cassava farmers increase yields by detecting plant disease and providing options on the best ways to manage it.
Josephine Arisat from Asing’e location in Busia County has been growing Cassava since 1995. With climatic change and its consequences, root and tuber crops provides a suitable choice to her as they exhibit higher tolerance threshold to stress such as water and heat.
“Initially, I was planting cassava for subsistence purpose in a two acre piece of land since there was minimum cassava diseases at that time. Later on in 2016 is when I shifted to planting half an acre for commercial purpose.” She cites the reason for planting less acres as being high prevalence of cassava diseases in the region.
As a means to curb this challenge, Josephine appreciates organization such as SHA and Ugunja Resource Center for introducing PlantVillage Nuru to her and other farmers in Busia County. Josephine has been using PlantVillage Nuru smartphone application for one and a half years. She acknowledge the importance of PlantVillage Nuru in the success of her cassava agribusiness.
“Since I received a smartphone with the PlantVillage Nuru application, my cassava farming has improved. The smartphone application has helped me to identify cassava diseases and to know the different types of diseases affecting my cassava. Initially, I used to harvest rotten cassava tubers whereas their leaves looked healthy. I never knew that cassava leaves can showcase diseases. With the help of Nuru, an artificial intelligence assistant, I can scan my cassava leaves and know if they are affected by cassava mosaic disease, cassava green mite, or cassava brown streak disease. The phone also provides solutions to this diseases.”
Before using PlantVillage Nuru smartphone application, Josephine would harvest just 0.5kg per cassava plant. With the AI assistant in her hand helping her to select healthy cassava cuttings to replant, she now harvests between 2.0-5.0 kg per plant.
Josephine’s advice to other farmers is to plant cassava in one meter by one meter spacing to allow the plant to utilize nutrients and resources. She also encourage other farmers to use PlantVillage Nuru App to detect cassava diseases and to uproot diseased tubers so as to stop spreading of cassava viral diseases to other cassava plants.
Click here to read the full article originally published by PlantVillage.
Click here to learn more about PlantVillage Nuru, a 2017 Inspire Challenge pilot project and 2019 Inspire Challenge Scale-Up Winner.
March 23, 2020