Agriculture is the backbone of the rural economy in Tanzania and many of the groups we work with, including many schools, include some degree of farming to help support their students.
Although in theory there are networks of agriculture extension officers to help such projects, often in practice they are too far away to be of any use. Therefore, we were very pleased to learn of the PlantVillage Nuru app which seeks to help farmers improve their practice. In February 2021 we had an online training session for our local reps and others interested in how to use this free app to detect Fall Army Worm (a pest for maize) and Cassava diseases. As maize and cassava are the main staple crops grown in their areas this is particularly important.
Since then Herry Kasunga, a volunteer and GIS specialist at Hope for Girls and Women Tanzania, the NGO run by our local rep for Mara, Rhobi Samwelly, has been out training their Digital Champions to use the app.
Here you can see the Digital Champion for Burunga village, Agness Marinya checking her crops with the app. She says, “It is an easy way to monitor crops and give you feedbacks on how crops grow, and I will provide training to other farmers in my village.