In Africa, crop pests and disease have been hampering agriculture productivity for decades, writes Amindeh Blaise Atabong at Quartz Africa. Africa farmers lose an estimated 49% of expected total crop yield per annum — the highest in the world – according to the Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International.
That’s likely to get worse as the impact of climate change worsens according to a study published last year in Science journal. Researchers argue global warming boosts population and insect appetite, and fastens the metabolic rate of insect pests, thereby causing them to consume more. It is estimated that with a 2℃ rise in temperature, insect pests could destroy maize—Africa’s most essential food crop — by as much as 30% more than they do today.
But a team of Cameroonian entrepreneurs has been testing an artificial intelligence based platform to help African farmers tackle crop pests and plant diseases from their source. Agrix Tech, a Yaoundé-based startup, is planning to roll out its platform across Africa beginning January 2020 when its commercial version will be released.