Weeds are serious constraints to rice production in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) across all rice environments and are the biggest drain on farm resources. Annual weed-inflicted yield losses in rice in Africa account for at least US $1.5 billion per year.
To reduce such yield losses, rice farmers need timely and reliable advice to make better decisions on the most appropriate weed control options. But at present they have limited access to such information.
AfricaRice has developed a powerful decision-support tool, called ‘RiceAdvice-WeedManager,’ to help rice farmers find the most effective and cost-efficient weed management strategies, matching their specific farming conditions and available resources.
The app provides a range of adapted recommendations for weed management – before, during and after the main rice growing season – based on information entered for farmer relating to his/her field conditions, available resources (financial, human and natural resources and equipment) and prevailing weed problems. Each farmer decides which of the recommendations to adopt.
The app can be used by farmers, extension workers, private companies involved in rice agri-business, development agencies and other stakeholders, who are interested in getting advice on weed management for rice production. It can also open opportunities for young professionals to serve as service providers by delivering personalized recommendations generated by the app to smallholder farmers and by assisting farmers during the implementation of the recommendations.
The WeedManager app is complementary to the farmer-to-farmer instruction videos produced by AfricaRice and its partners on weed management, Striga management, safe and efficient herbicide application and the use of mechanical weeders in rice.
The WeedManager app can be freely downloaded from the Google Play Store on any Android device (smartphone or tablet). It is available in English and French, and other language versions are planned. The WeedManager app uses the same login data as the RiceAdvice app earlier launched by AfricaRice.