PRISE-PAD Fall Armyworm SMS Alert Pilot Results

The PRISE project is funded by the United Kingdom Space Agency International Partnership Programme

This study evaluates the effects of a pilot mobile SMS messages campaign on farmers’ knowledge and management of fall armyworm (FAW), an invasive pest of maize that is threatening food security in Kenya. The farmers’ participation in the SMS message system was high, with almost 60% of farmers consistently participating through the season. The majority of farmers understood most of the messages, which they found helpful, especially on how to control and prevent FAW. We find that participation in the mobile SMS messages campaigns increased farmers’ knowledge about FAW, and farmers reported reduced FAW infestation and increased maize production, as a result of implementing the recommended actions. Male farmers were more likely to be aware of FAW and knowledgeable about the integrated management of FAW than women farmers. Recommendations are made to improve the clarity of some messaging, expand the service and undertake further analysis to ensure women farmers are able to benefit equally from the PRISE alerts.