AfricaRice launches free mobile
app for rice weed control in Africa
Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice)
has launched a powerful new decision-support tool, called ‘RiceAdvice-WeedManager,’
to help African rice farmers find the most effective and
cost-efficient weed management strategies, matching their
specific farming conditions and available resources.
Potentially all rice farmers in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) can
benefit from this interactive tool as it can be used across
rice-growing environments, from rainfed uplands to fully
irrigated lowlands, leading to significant improvements in
efficiency, productivity and incomes.
Weeds are serious constraints to rice production in SSA across
all rice environments. AfricaRice surveys indicate that farmers
perceive weed infestation as the predominant biotic constraint
to rice production in SSA. Annual weed-inflicted yield losses in
rice are conservatively estimated at 2.2 million tons per year
in SSA, resulting in at least US$ 1.5 billon losses per year.
It is estimated that improved weed control, when combined with
good soil fertility management, can raise rice yields by 1 ton
per ha. Improved weed management is therefore vital to prevent
losses in rice yield and production costs. For this, rice
farmers in SSA 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.
The WeedManager app has been developed in close association with
Co-Capacity, The Netherlands, with support from the CGIAR
Research Program on Rice Agri-food Systems (RICE).
It is strongly based on research findings of AfricaRice and its
partners, who have long been involved in developing efficient
weed management strategies that are affordable and feasible for
resource-poor rice farmers in SSA.
The app is now being field-tested with farmers in Nigeria and
Tanzania with the help of the Competitive African Rice
commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic
Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
“We are planning to organize training in the use of WeedManager
app, which is an exciting tool for weed management,” said Dr
Kazuki Saito, AfricaRice Agronomist.
The app provides a range of adapted recommendations for weed
management – before, during and after the main rice-cropping
season – based on information entered for each participating
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 and can then be further advised and
monitored by service providers.
“The WeedManager app stimulates adoption of targeted and
integrated weed management practices by smallholder rice farmers
in SSA, helping to reduce their reliance on manual weeding. This
contributes to sustainable productivity enhancement leading to
food security and income generation,” explains
Dr Jonne Rodenburg, former AfricaRice agronomist, who has
spearheaded the development of the WeedManager app. Dr Rodenburg
is currently Senior Lecturer/Researcher Agroecology at the
Natural Resources Institute (NRI)
of the University of Greenwich, United Kingdom.
The WeedManager app can be used by farmers, extension workers,
private companies involved in rice agri-business, development
agencies and other stakeholders in Africa, who are interested in
getting expert 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 rice farmers and by
assisting farmers during the implementation of the
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.
Related links :
+225 22 48 09 10
AfricaRice is a CGIAR Research Center –
part of a global research partnership for a food-secure future. It is
also an intergovernmental association of African member countries.
The Center was created in 1971 by 11 African countries. Today its
membership comprises 27 countries, covering West, Central, East and
North African regions, namely Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central
African Republic, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo,
Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau,
Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Republic of
Congo, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo and Uganda.
AfricaRice headquarters is based in Côte d’Ivoire. Staff are located in
Côte d’Ivoire and also in AfricaRice Research Stations in Benin,
Liberia, Madagascar, Nigeria, and Senegal. For more information
CGIAR is a global research partnership for a
food-secure future. CGIAR science is dedicated to reducing poverty,
enhancing food and nutrition security, and improving natural resources
and ecosystem services. Its research is carried out by 15 CGIAR Centers
in close collaboration with hundreds of partners, including national and
regional research institutes, civil society organizations, academia,
development organizations and the private sector.