New app to reshape rice farming in Africa

RiceAdvice-WeedManager app

From the recently launched cassava app, groundnut and sim-sim machine to the animal-feed crushing machine, SautiTech continues to bring you more agri-tech innovations aimed at increasing productivity in the agriculture sector in Uganda and Africa as a whole.

Today we look at the RiceAdvice-WeedManager app, specifically built to help rice farmers in Africa.

The RiceAdvice-WeedManager is a decision-support app which was built to offer farmers with sufficient knowledge and information on how to combat weeds. The application guides farmers with weed management methods that fit their farming conditions and can be supported by their resources.

This follows a survey by the AfricaRice organization which indicates that weeds have continued to hinder rice production in Sub-Saharan Africa, contributing loses of about 2.2 million tons in rice harvest which is equivalent to US $1.5 billion.

Launched on April 5, 2018, the app targets rice farmers in the Sub-Saharan region of Africa, especially those do not have access to consultation services which would assist in weed management.

RiceAdvice-WeedManager offers a variety of well-researched recommendations concerning weed management at all stages for rice production, that is, before, during and after the main rice-cropping season.

The methods provided by the app are constructed based on details entered by farmers in relation to their farm ecology and conditions, usual weed problems, available resources in terms of finances, farming equipment, human and natural resources. It is from these, that the software provides the targeted advice to farmers concerning weed management.

Dr. Jonne Rodenburg, one of the frontiers for this app says, “The WeedManager app stimulates adoption of targeted and integrated weed management practices by smallholder rice farmers in Sub Saharan Africa, helping to reduce their reliance on manual weeding.”

He adds, “This contributes to sustainable productivity enhancement leading to food security and income generation.”

The app is not only useful to farmers but also presents opportunity to professionals, who contribute advisory knowledge to the database.

RiceWeedManager app

Some of the features of the application

This innovation can be used by farmers, private companies involved in rice agri-business and development agencies in acquiring tips on weed management for rice production.

RiceAdvice-WeedManager is available in English and French, and can be used on any Android device operating on Android 4.3 and above. The application is free. Its services are offline however an internet connection is required from time to time to update the information provided.

The app is undergoing field-tests with farmers in Nigeria and Tanzania from where it shall be rolled out to other partnering countries under the AfricaRice. Farmers will also undergo training on how they can best utilize this weed management platform.

About AfricaRice

According to its website, the Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice) was formed in 1971 by 11 West African countries. It is in September, 2009 that the organization realized its strategies were in position to assist the entire continent’s rice production hence the change of its name from West Africa Rice Development Association (WARDA) to Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice)

Today its membership comprises 26 countries, covering West, Central, East and North African regions, including Rwanda and Uganda.

It is also an intergovernmental association of African member countries aimed at leading pan-African rice research organization committed to improving livelihoods in Africa through strong science and effective partnerships.

AfricaRice’s mission is to contribute to poverty reduction and food security in Africa, through research, development and partnership activities aimed at increasing the productivity and profitability of the rice sector in ways that ensure the sustainability of the farming environment.

AfricaRice headquarters is based in Côte d’Ivoire. Staff are located in Côte d’Ivoire. AfricaRice has research Stations in Benin, Liberia, Madagascar, Nigeria, Senegal and Tanzania.

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