When we hear Dow at CIAT, most of us think about the collaboration of CIAT’s forages team with Dow AgroSciences who work together on ensuring farmers to have the high-quality forages they need to fatten their livestock and boost their incomes.
Kris Wyckhuys and his team seized a new opportunity for collaboration that emerged with the Leadership in Action program of the Dow Chemical Company. The program offers its employees to partner with on-the-ground, local organizations in emerging geographies to develop sustainable community-driven solutions. As part of Dow’s 2025 Sustainability Goals, the company has committed to positively impacting the lives of one billion people over the next 10 years. Hampered by the ongoing cassava pest and disease crisis in Asia, Kris Wyckhuys took advantage of the program and applied successfully for support. Indonesia lacks the finances and manpower to rely on state-funded monitoring of cassava pests and diseases and so the winning idea was a crowdsourcing approach that can serve the dual purpose of assisting farmers and extension workers to identify and report pests, while simultaneously gathering data generated to build maps of pest occurrence and geographical distribution. Ultimately, these data could be used by researchers and government, to guide preventative actions, and strengthening of quarantine barriers. “The expectations were met. Over 5 months and in collaboration with Bogor Agricultural University, based in Jakarta, the volunteers provided virtual backstopping and a recent visit to the CIAT’s ongoing work in Indonesia on promoting sustainable control of the cassava mealybug”, says Kris who supervised the collaboration. Through feasibility studies and surveys we aim to make progress on further monitoring, farmer extension and capacity building efforts, as such: 1) Evaluate the potential for crowd-sourcing to geotrack mealybug invaders; 2) Explore how to best feed into existing farmer-field schools or Community IPM networks for further farmer awareness raising and extension efforts, and 3) Assess the potential use of cell phones and mass media promoting of IPM concepts & technologies. See Dow’s press release: Dow Employees Travel to Indonesia to Develop Sustainable, Community-Driven Solutions while Enhancing Leadership Skills Read more on CIAT’s cassava research