Plantwise app gives remote farmers help for crop troubles

The following is a complete press release.

March 2014 – Plantwise, in partnership with Oxford-based White October, has launched an app that helps to improve world food security and the livelihoods of farmers in developing countries and remote locations. The Plantwise ‘Factsheets library’ is an Android app designed to be very effective on low cost tablets making knowledge on pests accessible anywhere.

The firm has developed the new Plantwise mobile app ‘Factsheets library,’ which gives plant specialists the knowledge and connectivity they need to advise farmers on handling pest problems with their crops. Farmers in rural areas who lack resources and knowledge on pests are often faced with devastating yield losses.

CABI’s Plantwise programme works to improve food security in many ways, such as helping countries provide best-practice advice directly to farmers to safely manage crop problems and to secure food and income for their families.

Working with national partners in over 30 countries, networks of plant clinics are established, whereby plant doctors offer free plant health expertise and practical advice in dealing with pests.

Screen Shot 2014-03-28 at 08.29.30

Photo caption: Plant Doctor Beatrice Njero tries out the new CABI Plantwise app at Embu Market plant clinic in Kenya. Photo Holly Wright, CABI.

When fully rolled out, this app will act as an additional way to access the online and downloadable resources of the Plantwise knowledge bank, a global gateway to factsheets on many types of plant problems, which has been used by plant specialists as their ‘Knowledge Bible’ for years.

The Plantwise app gives plant doctors everything they need to diagnose and make recommendations with easy, instant access offline, enabling them to consult scientific facts, images and best practices. This ensures that the advice they give to farmers is well informed and up-to-date.  The app also delivers valuable usage statistics back to CABI to help with ongoing product and service development.

A pilot programme for the Plantwise app on low cost Lenovo A3000 tablets is now underway in Kenya.

“It’s in my pocket, it’s like a mobile office, so anytime you need a service from me…I just deliver – immediately!” says plant doctor Daniel Kamaru at the Mbogoni plant clinic in Meru, Kenya. “Plantwise knowledge bank has been working since its inception to close the gap between scientific research on pests and the farmers who need this information,” says Plantwise Knowledge Bank Head of Technical Solutions, Tim Holmes. “This app puts the information in the hands of anyone with a smartphone, and that number is growing all the time.”

Following a phase of refinements and further testing, it will be rolled out across Kenya and other countries worldwide.

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