So, what's the problem
Pest outbreaks are devastating. Especially to those who rely on the crops they can grow for their food and livelihoods. Pests don’t respect political boundaries and their movements are increasingly unpredictable due to climate change. They are a huge problem around the world and hamper the pursuit of Sustainable Development Goals 1 and 2.
Despite a general consensus on the threats from pests and diseases to global production, monitoring and evaluation of the damage caused is very poorly understood.
What is this project doing?
Innovation can provide new solutions. This project will help to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers by reducing crop losses caused by pests across six sub-Saharan African countries.
To forecasting the risk of pest outbreaks, we will use a novel combination of earth observation technology, satellite positioning, and plant-pest lifecycle to deliver a science-based Pest Risk Information SErvice (PRISE) for sub-Saharan Africa. Expansive, novel crowd sourcing observations will also be established to strengthen and validate the system.
Ministers of Agriculture and their extension experts in Zambia, Ghana and Kenya will be actively engaged and involved in this pest forecasting system, which collects and combines disparate datasets, manipulates data using computational and modelling expertise, and leverages well-established international development networks.
In-country data collected from the field will be fed into the model, and also used to ground-truth results, which will allow the team to continually improve it. Risk messages and mitigation measures will be communicated to users and we will monitor and evaluate the service to assess its impact.
Risk forecasts will be integrated into existing plant health systems, using networks in current programmes and projects, to trigger appropriate action to deliver large scale alerts, advice and inputs to farmers.
Capacity development and involvement of each country’s private and public sector organizations, will also enable business plans to be developed for long-term sustainability.
So far, we have held a successful partner workshop in the UK where we launched the initiative, and had two planning meetings for UK consortium partners.
We have also developed a project management plan which has been agreed upon by the UK consortium partners as well as signing contracts with Assimila, the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC) Centre for Environmental Data Analysis (CEDA), and King’s College London (KCL).
In addition, we held two-day inception workshops in Ghana, Zambia and Kenya with help from CABI’s regional African offices. These were attended by UK partners and around 20 to 30 in-country representatives from agricultural and space/ earth science sectors and from government and private industry. This resulted in positive engagement from major in-country partners.
The inception workshop presentation can be found here.
Watch a video about PRISE.
Project Manager, Plantwise Knowledge Bank
Head of Technical Solutions, Plantwise knowledge bank
Knowledge Bank Coordinator, East Africa
Country Coordinator – West Africa
Regional Representative, CABI Southern Africa Centre
User Experience Designer
Content Developer, Plantwise Knowledge Bank
Senior Researcher, Invasives
Ecologist/ Entomologist - Higher Scientific Officer