Blockchain’s RightMesh Partners For Mobile App To Aid Sub-Saharan Farmers

Blockchain, Education, News | December 22, 2018 By:

RightMesh and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) have signed a memo of understanding (MoU) for the design, development, and testing of a mobile application that will allow smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa to capture and share data about crop disease without using Internet or mobile data.

In Africa, an estimated 70% of the population depends directly on agriculture for its livelihood. The sector is also under pressure to increase productivity to feed a rapidly growing population in the face of climate change which among others is causing the spread of new pests and diseases.

A lack of tools for early and rapid reporting of emerging diseases have resulted in rapidly-spreading outbreaks leading to epidemics and huge crop loss. Web-based tools for data collection have proven to be effective, yet for many farmers, connecting to the internet is cost-prohibitive. Mobile communications can be equally spotty in rural locations, and even the deployment of 5G tools is likely to miss certain crucial areas.

This co-created mesh-enabled mobile app will allow smallholder farmers to detect and report new pests and diseases without incurring costs for internet or data. When combined with the plant pathology expertise of IITA, the app will allow farmers, community knowledge workers, researchers, and government agencies to collaborate digitally for an innovative approach to address the early detection, prevention, and intervention of crop disease.

“Working with IITA on a solution that has the potential to lift whole communities out of poverty by improving agricultural performance in East and Central Africa is an excellent use case for the RightMesh platform,” said John Lyotier, Co-founder and CEO of RightMesh, “We are honored to contribute to the solution by enabling connectivity to reach these smallholder farmers who will now have access to the benefits of online community collaboration.”

“The RightMesh mobile app takes early detection of pests and diseases to the next level. It will help in increasing information flow between farmers, extension agents, and researchers in the event of a breakout and this will help reduce the vulnerability of smallholder farmers,” noted Dr. Kenton Dashiell, IITA Deputy Director General Partnerships for Delivery. “This will help reduce the vulnerability of smallholder farmers and contribute towards ensuring food security.”

Protecting smallholder farm crops with innovative technology and world leading plant pathology research, the RightMesh – IITA collaboration addresses United Nations Sustainable Development Goals of eradicating extreme poverty, ending hunger and ensuring access to nutritious and sufficient food all year round, building resilient infrastructure, and combating climate change and its impacts.

This mobile application will be tested in Tanzania in late 2019.