SMS campaign helps 80% of farmers learn new ways to tackle fall armyworm in Kenya and Uganda
Technology can help us reach a larger number of small-scale farmers with the agricultural information they need to fight crop pests. In Kenya and Uganda, CABI has used technology to share farming know-how with over 500,000 smallholders, who are changing the way they farm as a result. In Kenya, a telephone survey of farmers who subscribed to the SMS service revealed that 80% of subscribers learnt new information about managing fall armyworm, especially about pesticides and when to apply them.
CABI’s technology-based information campaigns have delivered agricultural knowledge to over half a million small-scale farmers in Kenya and Uganda, helping them tackle crop pests like fall armyworm. Many smallholders are changing the way they farm as a result.
In only two years, fall armyworm has spread from South America to sub-Saharan Africa, destroying maize and, with that, farmer incomes and food security. Farmers need to know how to manage this non-native, invasive species.
While agricultural support (extension services) help deliver agricultural information, low funding brings limitations; for example, Kenya has only one extension officer for every 1,000 farmers.
But technology can help.
Since 2017, CABI and partners have launched a series of technology-based information campaigns in Kenya and Uganda using radio, SMS messages and community video screenings to increase pest awareness, knowledge and management practices, and help farmers fight fall armyworm.
The campaigns target maize-growing areas and places where damage by fall armyworm has been severe. The messages cover subjects like pest scouting and actions to take once the pest has been detected.
By sharing knowledge about this non-native pest, CABI is also helping farmers to build resilience against the growing threat of invasive species.
So far, the campaigns have reached a total of over half a million farmers and the impact is clear:
In Kenya, a telephone survey of farmers who subscribed to the SMS service revealed that 80% of subscribers learnt new information about managing fall armyworm, especially about pesticides and when to apply them.
In Uganda, smallholders are changing the way they farm. A field survey found that farmers who received the information were more likely to monitor their crops regularly for pests, plant early, weed frequently and use the right pesticides.
Technology-based information sharing means farmers can grow more and lose less, increase their incomes and prosper from their small-scale and family farms.
For more information about fall armyworm, go to https://www.cabi.org/isc/fallarmyworm.
CABI has developed a number of core skills which will ensure it achieves its strategic goals.
Sustainable Development Goals
Developing a sustainable food system that helps smallholders meet the world's growing need for food.
Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, combat land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.