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CABI launches space-age technology to fight crop-devastating pest outbreaks in Kenya

Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI), funded by the UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme (IPP), is developing a Pest Risk Information Service (PRISE) to fight against crop-devastating pest outbrakes in Kenya

The service was launched at a Plantwise plant clinic in Manyatta in Kenya’s Eastern Province.

Cambria Finegold, global director for knowledge management, said, “It is vital that we use the very latest in technology and work in partnership to bring the best insights on pest population behaviour right to the farmer’s door.”

PRISE builds upon the UK Department for International Development (DFID)-funded Plantwise programme which works globally to help farmers lose less of what they grow to plant health problems.

The project was launched in Zambia in December and will be launched in Ghana later this month.

Ray Fielding, head of the International Partnership Programme at the UK Space Agency, stated, “Innovation is essential to provide new solutions to the problem of pest outbreaks, and this project combines novel EO technology, satellite positioning, plant health modelling, and on-the-ground real-time observations to deliver a science-based service for sub-Saharan Africa.”

The project consortium includes UK partners from Assimila, Kings College London, Centre for Environmental Data Analysis. The technology being deployed better places CABI’s Plantwise plant clinics to give timely alerts and advice to farmers, in person and by tablet or smartphone so they can respond more efficiently to the risks posed to their crops.