Plant health is increasingly threatened by climate change, pests and insufficient response of agricultural practices to these threats. An estimated 40% of crop yields, for example, are lost to pests alone.
CABI has launched the Crop Sprayer App - the latest tool in the PlantwisePlus Toolkit - aimed at helping smallholder farmers calculate how much pesticide to use when treating their crops and protecting them from pests and diseases.
Using Integrated Pest Management approaches, farmers can implement a coordinated and planned strategy for the prevention, detection and control of pests, weeds, and diseases that can combine the use of both chemical pesticides and safer-to-use and environmentally friendly bioprotection products as well as other preventive management solutions.
As part of IPM plans, smallholder farmers around the world sometimes have to spray pesticides to protect their crops and, ultimately, their livelihoods as well as local, regional and national food security.
CABI created the Crop Sprayer App - which can also be used by agricultural extension workers and agro-input dealers - to help address challenges such as the overuse of pesticides. This can lead to higher costs for the farmer and may also impact upon both human and environmental health.
The Crop Sprayer App, as part of a suite of digital tools and resources in the PlantwisePlus Toolkit - that also includes the Plantwise Factsheet Library App - can calculate how much pesticide concentrate to put in different sized pesticide sprayers.
It can also work out how many spray tanks will be needed to spray an area and how much pesticide concentrate will be needed in total.
Claire Curry, CABI's Senior Project Manager, Digital Development, said, "Rational pesticide use is both important for the efficient management of crop pests but also the safety of the farmer and sustainability of the environment.
"The Crop Sprayer App is another valuable tool in the PlantwisePlus Toolkit which will enable smallholder farmers to use pesticides as part of a coordinated approach to Integrated Pest Management.
"Ensuring the right amount of product is important not only in helping to manage a particular pest but also to reduce the risks of pesticide use for the farmer and the environment."
The Crop Sprayer App is free for everyone to download and use and is available in English, French, Spanish, Swahili and Bengali.
An Android smartphone or tablet with enough storage space for the app is required as is access to the internet to download the app from the Google Play Store.
Once downloaded, the app works offline. However, a stable internet connection is needed - along with sufficient storage space on your device - to enable updates released by CABI from time to time.
The CABI BioProtection Portal can be used alongside the Crop Sprayer App as it provides up-to-date information to identify, source and apply registered microbial biopesticide products in a given country and thereby supports the rational application of these nature-based pest management solutions.
About the PlantwisePlus Toolkit
The PlantwisePlus Toolkit is a collection of digital advisory tools that support the decision making of agricultural advisors, including extension officers and agro-input dealers. With this Toolkit, advisors have access to the latest information on pest distribution, diagnosis, pest management and more.