• Grace Ogutu
Abstract What is this project all about? “Advances in medicine and agriculture have saved vastly more lives than have been lost in all the wars in history.” (American Astronomer, Writer and Scientist, 1934-1996) My previous education as an agricultural officer with in-depth knowledge of agricultural pests and diseases opened my eyes to a vital need in rural agriculture in Kenya. This was the need for the farmer to effectively communicate to the agricultural extension officer based in a research station or government office, the first warning signs of an impending outbreak of disastrous plant pests, for instance, the cob rot fungi that causes spoilage of the maize grain leading to some of them producing mycotoxins, which can pose a health risk to humans and animals consuming foods prepared from contaminated grain. Having enrolled for a Masters in Information Technology Degree in Multimedia, my eyes were opened to a new possible solution to the pest management problem. This was through quick communication between the farmer as the sender and the agricultural extension officer as the receiver using multimedia technology. Of the channels through which we can choose to send our messages, the visual is the strongest. This is partly because the parts of the brain that handle visual impressions are larger than those dealing with for example hearing. It is also due to the fact that we can attend to several visual images simultaneously. (Morgan and Welton, 1992) In conjunction with the ever present need for effective communication during pest and disease outbreaks, this current analysis is a continuation of an analysis that I carried out in my 8th semester project at the university, and which was awarded an 11 grade at that time due to various factors. The analysis was based on the”effectiveness of a mobile phone as a medium of interactive communication in the early detection and management of plant diseases in arable rural Kenya.” The project was considered to have great potential by the supervisor and unique due to the fact that no one else had worked on that particular arena of research. That was wonderful news for me, and an encouragement to carry it on to the next phase because the need for effective pest and disease management in arable rural Kenya is enormous, considering that the economy is reeling from recent destructive ethnic clashes that destroyed the agricultural backbone that has sustained the economy since independence from the British Colonial rule in 1963 and rendered many rural farmers poor and at the mercy of agricultural pests and diseases among others. In view of this, if an effective multimedia communication system can be developed, a lot of disasters that results from massive destruction of crops by agricultural pests due to inefficient communication can be averted. The reception phase, which I will diligently work with here entails the receiving and interpretation of an MMS or multimediated message on a camera mobile phone interface by an agricultural officer and its interpretation into action. The MMS message contains a visual and audio mediated message in form of a picture and digital text of a diseased or pest infested plant part. This is then decoded or interpreted and the necessary action taken. The necessary action taken by the agricultural officer on the receiving end can vary from further communication with the farmer in order to verify the validity and identity of the received MMS, physical identification of the pest and laboratory verification that can result to spraying of the crops to exterminate a potential crop pest or uprooting the diseased part to avoid contamination of other healthy plants. This action can also be the implementing of integrated pest management approach which is very significant to environmental protection. In view of environmental considerations, it is important to note that Integrated Pest Management is an approach to pest and disease management that employs physical, mechanical, cultural, biological and educational tactics to keep pest numbers low enough to prevent intolerable damage or annoyance. In an IPM/IDM program, the least toxic but most effective management options are utilized. There are increasing expectations at the producer and consumer level concerning low-input agriculture and residues-free food. Disciplines that evolve around integrated Pest and Disease management are now central to the science and technology of Crop protection. ( Ciancio, Mukerji, 2007) These crop protection methods in the context of the associated environment and the population dynamics of the pest/pathogen species utilises all suitable techniques and methods in a manner as compatible as possible, and maintains the pest/pathogen population levels below that causing economic injury. The basic steps of an integrated pest management program (IPM) or the method by which it functions optimally is divided into four categories. These are action thresholds, monitoring and identifying pests, prevention and control in the respective order of application. With a view to working with reception of the received MMS, which was a challenge when I first carried out the analysis and making recommendations for improvement, this analysis will involve reception of several MMS pictures with varied credibility or”troværdighed.” The question that will arise often will focus on the relation between the credibility of multimedia communication in form of an MMS sent through a mobile phone interface and reception. I will analyse the conformity of the sent MMS to the elements of credibility or”troværdighedsmakører.” These elements include lighting, colour, composition, context, content and depth. A focus group interview will be carried out using participants from the Danish Plant Directorate in Aarhus to obtain insight, information and enlightenment on how to improve reception.
Antal sider58
Udgivende institutionAalborg university
ID: 14644195