Small-holder maize growers can use rather divergent plant spacings for their maize. Whereas plant spacing should be adapted to available nutrients and rainfall, spacing practices are often based on blanket recommendations (based on optimal plant nutrition), farmer preference, or common practice among farmers in an area.
Maize-Seed- Area (MSA) is a phone-based application that enables agro-dealers, extension workers and farmers to give field-specific, sound agronomic advice. It provides appropriate plant spacing options for the field, advices farmers on how much seed of their preferred variety they should buy for the field, and provides additional information on available maize varieties, so farmers can make an informed choice.
The main functionalities of this application include:
- Measuring a field area with GPS (Global Positioning System)
- Giving advice on plant density depending on:
- Soil type
- The amount of manure and fertilizer to be used
- The slope of the field
- What was grown in the field before
- Whether it is a fertile or infertile field
- Estimating the amount of a specified variety in Kilo Grams for a measured/estimated field area
- Providing information on (40) maize varieties
- Drought Tolerant (DT) varieties
- Varieties by duration
In 2018, Maize-Seed- Area is being piloted with agro-dealers and extension workers in Western Kenya, in collaboration with TAMASA’s partner, Precision Agriculture for Development (PAD).