Savanna Agric Institute develops mobile app to improve farming

 The Savanna Agricultural Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-SARI) in collaboration with the Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI) has developed a mobile application to help improve agriculture. 

The new app codenamed “Telegraph”, could be downloaded on computers and has a unique function to detect timing of insects, pests and disease attacks on farms and it is also able to suggest best management practices to control the attack.  

Speaking to the Ghana News Agency, Dr Jerry Nboyine, an Entomologist at the CSIR-SARI, said the robust app was currently being piloted in Ghana and Kenya.

The mobile application is the end product of the project: “Pest Risk Information Services (PRISE),” launched last year and it is aimed at developing a system that would be beneficial to persons along the agricultural value chain. 

Dr Nboyine said CABI has already trained selected Agricultural Extension Officers who work closely with farmers to ensure that they benefited substantially from the project.

Those trained as plant doctors are expected relay all information received to the farmers for effective application of knowledge.

“In most of our agricultural systems, one of the major challenges is the issue of insect pest and diseases, so what we are trying to do is we want to get much information which will be fed into a system and that system will now send messages to individuals,” he said.

“Some individuals have been trained by CABI and called plant doctors…so that message goes to them and tells them what insect pest or disease the farmer should expect on his farm at any point in time, then it will even go ahead to tell them what management action they should take to solve that particular problem”.

The Telegraph would require farmers and other users to download and install on their computers or mobile phones, input their location and mobile phone number and the system would provide information daily on when pest would invade their farms and how to control them.

Dr Nboyine said agriculture is a dynamic venture, hence the need for improved technology in the sector to prepare better days ahead for farmers. 

He said: “These days we cannot continue using the strategies of the 1970s to achieve good results in Ghana in 2019…there are a lot of technologies that are available to enable us maximize yields in the little areas that we have and farmers should always be ready to embrace such things”.

Agriculture has been a major contributor to Ghana’s economy with the government making frantic efforts to improve the sector employing over 60 percent of the populace.

It is therefore implementing the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme which was launched countrywide two years ago. 

However, agricultural scientists suggest that to realize the objective of the PFJ programme, there is the need for an enhanced technology in the sector to meet the changing circumstances and to put the sector on the right pedestal of growth for the economy. GNA

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