Scouts, Call Centers and Lead Farmers
Low cost approaches to monitoring pest incidence in small-scale tomato farms
The lack of ability to monitor the spread of major pests in real time at large scales is a crucial obstacle to addressing devastating outbreaks in low income countries and guiding farmers on treatment and prevention. Traditional approaches based on surveys by professional scouts, as practiced in high income countries, provide high quality information, but are infeasible in low income settings because of their prohibitive costs and logistical constraints (e.g. transportation).
This pilot study evaluates the possibility of cost-effectively monitoring pest incidence and pesticide use by tomato growers in Malawi using a combination of full-time paid scouts (with no formal training) and lead farmers equipped with a smart phone and a dedicated app, a call center and a drone.
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