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Date post: 11-May-2015
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Pilot Project: SMS-based System for Pest and Disease Surveillance Dr. Fred Baijukya ARI-Maruku Dar Es Salaam
  • 1.Pilot Project: SMS-based System for Pest and Disease SurveillanceDr.Fred BaijukyaARI-Maruku Dar Es Salaam 31March 2008

2. Overview

  • Background
  • Key findings from the household survey
  • Objectives of the pilot
  • The SMS system
    • Benefits
    • Sustainability


  • Project funding from Norway
  • .... toSupport Biosecurity Initiatives and Policies in Countries Facing High Risks of Outbreak of Disease and Pests
  • Biosecurity initiatives understood in order to
    • i)strengthern animal and plant health systems and
    • ii)enhancing food safety

Background: 4. Thus .....

  • FAO, collaborating with ARI Maruku and ARI Kachwekano (UG) piloted a study to generate knowledge on diseases and their socio-economic burden on rural populations on boarder districts of Tanzania and Uganda
  • Study selected 8 districts in south-west Uganda and north-west Tanzania

5. 6. Why this study area?

  • Location for disease emergence
  • Analysis of cross-border issues
  • Variance in impact (households, communities and farming systems)

7. Key finding #1: Farmers have, and manage, more problems than simply one disease or pest at a time 8. Key finding #2: means farmers face cumulative disease burden 9. Key finding #3: Movement of people, plants and animals can spread diseases, often with devastating consequences Transportation of plantingTrade In search of pasture and drinking water 10. Banana xanthomonas wilt(BXW) 11. 12.

  • No analysis of reports to identify pest and disease incidence, or trends over time
  • Reports only reflect area covered by extension workers in that month
  • Hard copies of reports can be damaged or lost (in most cases no soft backup)
  • No record of phone call reports

Key finding #4: Current surveillance and reporting capacities are inadequate 13.

  • Transport
  • Human resource
  • Reference material
  • Working environment
  • Inspection tools and technical facilities
  • Surveillance and reporting procedures

Technical constraints to surveillance 14.

  • Little or no incentive among farmers to provide information
  • Fear of blame and punishment
  • Adoptwait and see approach
  • Whether farmers report also depends on relationship with extension worker and perception of anticipated assistance
  • No culture of record-keeping among farm households
  • Resource-poor households may not have access to phones and airtime

Social constraints to surveillance 15.

  • Addressing these constraints could help improve pest and disease surveillance, and potentially early warning


  • Visual representation of data (graphs, maps, etc.)
  • Written bulletins distributed to all interested parties
  • Database on reported pest and diseases, that could be easily accessed by decision makers and farmers, extension workers
  • Improved information sharing among subject experts
  • Technology can help

A vision for better surveillance 17. So what technology?

  • Pen and paper
  • Mobile phones (SMS)
  • Personal digital assistants (PDAs)
  • Laptops

18. SMS advantages

  • High mobile phone ownership
  • Quick transmission of information
  • Ease of reporting
  • Automatic storage of reports
  • Low cost
  • Mobile phones already being used to share information among farmers, extension workers

19. How it works: SMS gate way system Desktop PC Laptop Mobile phone GSM modem SMS Gatewaysoftware 20. SMS-based system model Field worker Ward extension District extension System monitor warnings verified Research Field workers in surrounding areas confirmed data Donors(Project funding) Decision-makers(District budget) Decision-makers (Central government) 21. Stakeholder benefits

  • Farmers
    • Early warning and response,empowerment
  • Field workers
    • Awareness and knowledge, empowerment
  • Extension workers
    • Strategic planning and resource allocation
  • Researchers
    • Information to inform future research agenda, early worning system
  • Decision makers
    • Access to information for strategic planning and resource allocation

22. Sustainability

  • Needs a project champion
  • Publicprivate partnerships
    • Mobile phone service providers
    • GPS manufacturers
  • Cross-border focus attractive to potential donors
  • Low entry running costs are a factor in sustainability


  • Thank you
  • Acknowledging funding support from the
  • Government of Norway