Isabel C. Hinchcliffe1, Rosanne Quinnell1, Robert Martin1, Van Touch1 and Daniel K.Y. Tan1
1 The University of Sydney, Sydney Institute of Agriculture, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
In response to the need for crop diversity, Cambodian farmers have begun incorporating mungbean into rice cropping systems. However, these smallholder mungbean producers are facing significant yield loss due to direct impacts of insect and disease pests. Improper pest management has worsened the issue, causing economic losses to farmers and environmental disruption. Improper and over-use of broad-spectrum pesticides as a solution to all observed pests is common place in mungbean fields of lowland Cambodia and these practices are linked to poor sources of agricultural information. This project aimed to discover the pest and beneficial species most common in mungbean fields of lowland Cambodia, and to use this information to develop an informative image-rich mobile phone application to aid Cambodian farmers and field agronomists with insect and disease identification, and so provide specific management recommendations, aligned with the principles of integrated pest management, applicable to the Cambodian context. This study evaluated the feasibility of the proposed app through a survey with potential users. These survey responses were incorporated into the development of the Pest ID app prototype, which was trialled with farmers and subsequently refined by adding audio content in Khmer. The majority of farmers in this study were unable to distinguish between beneficial and pest insect species. The Pest ID app has been well received by farmers with users seeing its potential to support crop management decisions. This app holds potential as an important agricultural education tool for mungbean farmers in the greater Mekong region.