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    Software bugs

    Kenyan-based start-up Farm Ink has been awarded top spot and US$150 000 in the Feed the Future Fall Armyworm Tech Prize, making it one of six winners.

    The competition (hosted by USAid, Land o’Lakes International Development and the FAO) was launched in a bid to find ‘digital innovations’ to help smallholder farmers and those that support them to manage the incidence, impact and spread of armyworm – an invasive and large-scale pest capable of decimating crops, particularly maize.

    According to USAid, Farm Ink integrated a virtual advisor into its Africa Farmers Club mobile service, providing its 150 000 users with vital information relating to the pest, including how to identify and treat it.

    Meanwhile Ugandan agricultural technology firm Akorian received US$75 000 for its ‘enhanced fall armyworm diagnostic in its EzyAgric app’. Prizes of US$50 000 each were awarded to Farmerline, Henson Geodata Technologies (both Ghana-based) and eHealth Systems Africa (Nigeria), which are developing early-stage mobile apps to help combat fall armyworm.

    ‘The prize received 228 entries from organisations around the world, 80% of which were based in Africa,’ states USAid. ‘The winning entries are working with smallholder farmers in Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana, and Nigeria, with the potential to scale solutions to other countries.’

    27 November 2018
    Image: Gallo/Getty Images