CABI launches Crop Sprayer App to assist smallholder farmers control pests

By David Kipkorir

CABI has launched the Crop Sprayer App, an essential addition to the PlantwisePlus Toolkit, designed to assist smallholder farmers in determining the appropriate amount of pesticide required to treat their crops and protect them from pests and diseases.

Climate change, pests, and inadequate agricultural practices pose an increasing threat to plant health. In fact, pests alone account for approximately 40% of crop yield losses.

By adopting Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approaches, farmers can employ a well-coordinated and planned strategy to prevent, detect, and control pests, weeds, and diseases. This strategy involves a combination of chemical pesticides, safer bioprotection products, and other preventive management solutions that are environmentally friendly.

Within their IPM plans, smallholder farmers worldwide often resort to pesticide spraying to safeguard their crops and, ultimately, their livelihoods, as well as local, regional, and national food security.

To address challenges like pesticide overuse, CABI has developed the Crop Sprayer App. This app can also be utilized by agricultural extension workers and agro-input dealers. Its purpose is to promote rational pesticide use, as excessive pesticide application can result in increased costs for farmers and potential adverse effects on human and environmental health.

As part of the PlantwisePlus Toolkit, which includes the Plantwise Factsheet Library App, the Crop Sprayer App enables users to calculate the appropriate amount of pesticide concentrate for different-sized pesticide sprayers. It can also determine the number of spray tanks needed to cover an area and the total quantity of pesticide concentrate required.

Claire Curry, Senior Project Manager of Digital Development at CABI, stated, “Rational pesticide use is crucial for effective crop pest management, as well as farmer safety and environmental sustainability.”

The Crop Sprayer App serves as a valuable tool within the PlantwisePlus Toolkit, allowing smallholder farmers to integrate pesticide use into a coordinated approach to Integrated Pest Management. Ensuring the correct dosage of pesticides not only aids in pest control but also minimizes the risks associated with pesticide use for farmers and the environment.

The Crop Sprayer App is available for free download in English, French, Spanish, Swahili, and Bengali. It requires an Android smartphone or tablet with sufficient storage capacity and internet access to download from the Google Play Store. Once downloaded, the app functions offline. However, periodic updates from CABI necessitate a stable internet connection and adequate storage space on the device.

In conjunction with the Crop Sprayer App, users can utilize the CABI BioProtection Portal, which offers up-to-date information on identifying, sourcing, and applying registered microbial biopesticide products in each country. This portal supports the rational application of these nature-based pest management solutions.

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