Fall Armyworm Tech Prize

Sought digital tools to help African farmers identify, treat, and track fall armyworm

What was the Fall Armyworm Tech Prize?

The Fall Armyworm Tech Prize focused on sourcing and sparking innovations for African smallholder farmers to accurately identify incidence of fall armyworm in their crops. The aim was to produce timely, context appropriate, and empowering insights for farmers to help reduce productivity losses caused by fall armyworm and ensure the appropriate and responsible use of pest management assessments, tools, and interventions. The Prize was run in partnership with Feed the Future, U.S. Government, USAID, The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), Land O’Lakes International Development, CIMMYT, CABI, The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), The Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA), MEST and BRAC.

Challenge timeline (click and scroll to the right)

28 March 2018

Applications opened

14 May 2018

Applications closed

June 2018

Co-creation event

Nov 2018

Awards event and winners announced

Fall armyworms can...

fly nearly 1,000 miles in 30 hours, meaning it can easily migrate to surrounding farms and countries

$13 billion...

in losses for crops like maize, sorghum, rice, and sugarcane may be caused by fall armyworm in a year

The first outbreaks...

of fall armyworm occurred in West Africa in early 2016, but originally come from the Americas

The winners of the Fall Armyworm Tech Prize

Grand prize winner – Fall Armyworm Virtual Advisor, by Farm.Ink

The Fall Armyworm Virtual Advisor is an interactive solution that provides knowledge on how to identify, scout, and treat fall armyworm to its users. The tool is integrated into Farm.ink’s award-winning mobile service, Africa Farmers Club, an online group and chatbot that enables more than 150,000 farmers across Africa to find information about farming. Through the Facebook Messenger platform, the solution gamifies learning and after completing trainings, allows farmers to access the FAW Scouter, a progressive web app that guides farmers through the scouting process. It then provides farmers with personalized recommendations for how to treat fall armyworm on their farms.

Runner-up – EzyAgric, by Akorion

The EzyArmyWorm (EAW), an enhancement of the pest and disease diagnostic in the EzyAgric app, aims to assist farmers, extension workers, and agribusinesses in Uganda with early detection and accurate diagnosis of FAW. It uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to allow farmers to easily detect the pest across possible affected crops at any stage of the production cycle. With SMS and smart alert notifications, EAW provides farmers with constant reminders and real-time information on how to detect, manage, and address fall armyworm.

Runner-up – AfriFARM, by Project Concern International and Dimagi

Built on CommCare, an existing digital platform designed for low-resource settings, AfriFARM provides accessible and actionable information about FAW to smallholders, lead farmers, and agricultural extension agents in Africa. The app provides learning modules tailored to user needs and capabilities on topics including management; identification; scouting; treatment options and safety considerations; and incidence reporting.

Frontier Innovation – CdPAS, by Farmerline

Crop Disease Prediction & Advisory Services (CdPAS) by Farmerline is a digital solution that allows end-users to access information on fall armyworm, engage experts on the pest, make incidence reports, and request inputs/services. CdPAS will leverage the audio-visual learning capabilities of local farmers by providing the simplified information via two channels: 1) An Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system, which allows users to access content in their preferred local language and on any mobile phone; and 2) an android application that has media-rich content (photos, videos, infographics) on the pest.

Frontier Innovation – Igeza, by Henson Geodata Technologies

Igeza is a cloud-based mobile application that enables early detection and instant interaction with a control center. Igeza integrates location and audio-visual services used by the smallholder maize farmer to scout, scan and identify fall armyworm as well as map their farms. The call center connects all notifications to a pool of experts including entomologists, plant pathologists, agronomists, and extension workers who can analyze the evidence presented and recommend appropriate management responses, where needed.

Frontier Innovation – CornBot, by eHealth Africa

CornBot is an audio-visual mobile application that interacts with farmers in their local language, talking them through a process that helps them identify, control, and manage fall armyworm. It uses an image-based Q&A mechanism to engage farmers and empower them with information needed to combat fall armyworm. CornBot also aggregates data on the prevalence of fall armyworm, providing stakeholders with real-time data necessary for formulating evidence-based policies and intervention on the pest.

The finalists in the Fall Armyworm Tech Prize

Limitless Apps Studios (Ghana) with BOA ME

An artificial intelligence-powered, web-based app which combines past data, satellite data, and user information about fall armyworm and translates it into insights that farmers can access.

myAgro (United States)

myAgro provides a digital payment platform enabling farmers to use their mobile phones to pay incrementally for fall armyworm specific training, seeds, and other products.

Africa Rising (South Africa)

A multi-faceted platform that helps farmers understand when outbreaks of fall armyworm might occur, provides advice on best practices, and directly answers farmers’ questions.

Project Concern International (PCI) and Dimagi (United States) with AfriFARM

A mobile phone application designed to facilitate education, monitoring, and safe and effective responses to the threat of fall armyworm.

Technoplus IT Solutions (Uganda) with Agri-Poll

A smart survey platform that allows workers and key stakeholders to gather, analyze, and disseminate images (of pests and crops), location, time, weather, and environments in which the pests have been detected via feature phones, smart phones, and web platforms.

Saillog (Israel) 

Saillog developed a digital monitoring system enabled by an app that leverages and deploys artificial intelligence to provide diagnoses and generate warning alerts for fall armyworm outbreaks based on geographical spread and forecasting models.

Arris Technologies (United States)

Arris Technologies developed a monitoring solution using solar-powered LED lure, intelligent cameras, and a convolutional neural network to detect and alert central pest management authorities and local farmers via SMS of fall armyworm outbreaks.

Farmerline Limited (Ghana) with CdPAS Mobile

Combines innovative digital technologies and participatory engagements of stakeholders to predict, identify, monitor, and mitigate the outbreak of fall armyworm across Africa, providing crop disease prediction and advisory services on any mobile phone.

eHealth Systems Africa Foundation (Nigeria) with CornBot

A maize disease diagnostic tool using image-based interactive mechanisms in local languages to help farmers identify, track, map, and treat fall armyworm.

Digicult (Taiwan)

A digital platform using mobile communication devices, multimedia processing, and crowdsourcing to effectively help farmers prevent and fight fall armyworm.

Akorion Company LTD (Uganda) with EzyAgric

An enhancement of the pest and disease diagnostic in the EzyAgric app, using proprietary artificial intelligence to allow smallholder farmers to detect the moth, larva, and eggs of fall armyworm across all possible affected crops.

VineTech (Kenya) with Fall Armyworm Identification, Verification and Mitigation 

A technology-based solution that employs drones, user-friendly mobile technology, and databases/maps, which, together can properly identify fall armyworm and provide appropriate treatment options.

Farm.ink (United Kingdom) with Fall Armyworm Virtual Advisor by The Africa Farmers Club

The AFC is a digital community of more than 150,000 farmers across Africa. The digital service includes a personalised fall armyworm farm-risk assessment; weekly bite-sized topic guides to educate and inform on fall armyworm; and a service to connect with expert advice and group discussions.

FarmSmartng/Ayaja Agro-Allied Ltd. (Nigeria) with FarmSmart Pest and Disease App

A mobile app that farmers and farm supervisors can use to take pictures of diseased or ravaged plants. It sends these images to the back-end, where artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms bring up suggestions of what the issue might be from a database containing similar cases, including suggestions for possible interventions.

ENDELEA UGANDA (Uganda) with Lea

A simple digital app designed to work both online and offline, which instantly identifies (through a photo) whether the problem is fall armyworm, the stage of growth, and extent of crop damage, then give treatment options and approved pesticides with their genuine suppliers.

Henson Geodata Technologies Ltd. (Ghana) with Locsmman Pro/OFES

A web and mobile application enabling early detection and notification of fall armyworm to a control center via video, image or voice, with geolocation.

MEDIAE (Kenya) with Shape Up Against Armyworm

Povides up-to-date information weekly on fall armyworm through the Shamba Shape Up (SSup) TV/Radio series. These two- to three-minute messages will reach an audience of 4 million to mitigate against fall armyworm.

FHI 360 (United States) with UDefeatFAW

Incorporates interactive radio and SMS/interactive voice response (IVR) for two-way communication with smallholder farmers on pesticides, the first defense in managing fall armyworm.

Mercy Corps, Wefarm (United States) with WeFAW 

A monitoring, early warning, and response system which will both share information with farmers, as well as gather data and insights from them.

Intella (Kenya) with Zaois-Tech

A three-tier networking approach involving farmers, extension officers, and government whose interactions are governed by an integrated, online-based portal to gather, store, analyze, and disseminate information to support action against fall armyworm.

News on the Challenge

Wanted: Digital Innovations to Stop Fall Armyworm in its Tracks

20 Innovators Selected to Tackle Fall Armyworm in Africa with Digital Solutions

Guest post by Lauren Bieniek, Program Manager, Digital Development for Feed the Future, USAID

USAID Announces Winners of the Feed the Future Fall Armyworm Tech Prize

Informed decisions From the Midwest to East Africa, data and innovative digital solutions are helping farmers assess their options

Lessons from the Fall Armyworm Tech Prize: The Importance of Ensuring Goals Align

Guest post by Meredith Perry

Fall Armyworm in Africa: The Farmer Experience

“Take it to the Farmer”: Behind the scenes of the Fall Armyworm Tech Prize Co-Creation