What are demo plots
We set up demo plots of various plants across countries. The demo plots act as a learning site where farmers can see new farming techniques and learn them. We also provide clean planting materials for the farmers, so they can grow plantings without diseases and get better yields.
Types of demo plots
- Clean cassava;
- Integrated pest management, where we demonstrate the effects of parasitoids and intercropping;
- Conservation agriculture;
- Irish potatoes.
Clean cassava demos
We demonstrate how production changes depending on the cassava varieties and techniques used on the ground. The techniques are:
- Clean planting materials.
- Clean cuttings in controlling cassava diseases.
- Weeding to avoid too many pests, such as whiteflies.
- Mulching to conserve moisture.
- Soil heaping around the roots.
- Scouting the diseases every other time and pulling out the diseased cassava plant to avoid its spread.
The most exciting thing for farmers is the AI assistant, which analyzes cassava health using a phone camera. Farmers love that function.
Integrated pest management
On our demo plots, we show how pesticides can be changed with natural pests' predators — parasitoids. Parasitoids are species whose immature stage develops on or within a single insect host, ultimately killing the host. Detailed story available in the Parasitoids preserving project.
In conservation agriculture, we showcase to farmers the importance of mulching which increases soil fertility and acts as a soil protector from erosion and too much sunlight that can kill microorganisms.
In conservation agriculture, we also have integrated pest management. We show how using biological control of pests helps avoid using pesticides.
To avoid disturbing soil and keep it stable, we suggest using less or no tillage. Different herbicides can be used to kill weeds, so the crop roots aren't cut during ripping, so yields increase.
For Irish potatoes, we have an ongoing project of treatment plots in 2 locations. We demonstrate the following techniques:
- Velum a nematicide
- Biochar and organic fertilizer
- Use of lignocellulose banana paper which we wrap on a potato seed
- Using only organic fertilizers
Organizing a control plot on each farm where different techniques are applied. This allows us to find which techniques effectively control or suppress bacteria and nematodes in the soil. This also will be a demonstration plot to showcase and teach sibling farmers.
Using the PlantVillage Nuru app, farmers can diagnose late and early blight and potato leaf viruses. If a disease is found, farmers will get feedback on how to control this disease.