Real-time surveillance forms the basis of effective crop health monitoring and disease detection for where in example Uganda, viral disease attacks on crops are viewed as one of the leading causes of food insecurity and poverty. Viral diseases amongst staple food crops such as Cassava in Uganda and the region are reason for reduced yields in subsistence agriculture,particularly among small- holder farmers for example Cassava Brown Streak Disease & Cassava Mosaic Diseases can cause up to a zero cassava yield if no interventions are effected in due time, with statistical yeild losses of upto USD 2Bn dollars in the East African region alone as reported by the Global Food Security Germplasm Connections journal, 2015. It therefore becomes important to regularly inform the subject matter experts of the such occurrences through surveillance.
Enabling experts to conduct surveillance tasks more effectively while at the same time crowdsourcing surveillance data is important for ensuring that timely interventions to control viral crop disease and pests are taken.
With these current structured surveys, it is resource infeasible to have more frequent surveys to regularly update the Cassava crop health situation maps. As the disease incidences, severities and pest infestation varies in both space and time, single stations of expert surveyors or annual pest and disease survey are not sufficient to produce such a detailed map.
Over and above the ground truth data collected in the traditional structured surveys by agricultural subject matter experts, we also need massive contributions, reported more frequently crowd-sourced from many private farmers, extension, partner firms that are local to these disparate areas. Such a community of agents would allow us to have a far greater coverage of collecting data on the Cassava crop health situation by use of mobile smart-phones for doing the real-time Cassava crop health surveillance. The Cassava Adhoc Surveillance Project research work aims to understand the tools and techniques needed for real-time surveillance of serious viral diseases in cassava which affect Uganda, where the data collected by trialing this surveillance technology can then be used in spatial analysis and modeling of the different cassava diseases and pests. This will enable appropriate interventions to be developed by concerned Agricultural government bodies.
The overarching aim of this work is to crowdsource cassava crop health surveillance data in real time. The focus of this research is to set up an Ad-hoc Surveillance system for sourcing real-time cassava crop health data and successfully deploy an adaptive incentive scheme to motivate agents to partcipation more and send quality reports from areas of interest or high uncertainty. This would form the basis for timely interventions in curbing viral disease outbreaks in the cassava crop; this is key for ensuring sustained cassava production which directly improves livelihoods of small holder farmers.
Extending a reporting system to subject matter experts, agricultural extension personnel and farmers that are local to their sub-regions and understanding practical incentive considerations for this crowdsourced surveillance?
Adequate user participation is one of the most critical factors when using crowdsourcing to get real-time surveillance data for cassava health from agents that are local to disparate region locations across the country.
The Cassava Adhoc Surveillance Project envisages the work proposed to contribute to three major outcomes: 1. A near real-time crop surveillance data collection pipeline. 2. A dynamic cassava crop disease & pest surveillance map powered by real-time data from farmers and extension workers in the field. 3. An adaptive incentive mechanism for mobile participants