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Improving management of weeds through a combination of participatory approach using citizen science and ICT tools

Le Bourgeois T., Marnotte P., Grard P., Dhandapani B., Ibrahim Y., Andrianaivo A.P., Randriamampianina J.A., Gaungoo A., Yeruva K., Sathish M.. 2016. In : Frédéric Médail (ed.), Gianniantonio Domina (ed.). Abstracts of XV OPTIMA meeting. Montpellier : OPTIMA, p. 97-97. OPTIMA MEETING. 15, 2016-06-06/2016-06-11, Montpellier (France).

A significant challenge to agricultural productivity is weed management. This is particularly impor-tant in tropical areas where weeds can cause at least 20% loss in the productivity of food and cash crops. To help stakeholders of the Western Indian Ocean in improving weed management, the WIK-WIO (Weed Identification and Knowledge in the Western Indian Ocean) project has developed a par-ticular combination of scientific approach and ICT tools. This project is a EU-ACP Science & Technology II program-funded action. The WIKWIO initiative contributes to the establishment and strengthening of a community of stake-holders from research, education, extension and production around integrated weed management, by promoting knowledge sharing and collaboration. The action is aimed at enhancing capacities through an interdisciplinary and participatory approach, by building an ICT knowledge base of major weeds of food and cash cropping systems in the region. The approach consists in sharing data and knowledge among stakeholders, helping people in weed identification, and providing information on weeds and their management. All these aspects are made available through the web 2.0 participatory bilingual (Fr/En) WIKWIO portal, http://portal.wikwio.org. From this platform, any visitor can identify a weed with the IDAO module and get information on a specific weed and its management from the Species module. Several working group modules provide weed management information for different cropping systems. Portal-regis-tered members can provide knowledge on species and contribute to the species information DB, and also post field observations in order to contribute to weed distribution mapping. They can post obser-vations of unidentified weeds to request help from the community for identification and give informa-tion on its management. Scientific or technical documents can be shared on the portal. Members can comment on any piece of information present in the different modules of the portal. This comment can afterward become the starting point of a fruitful discussion. The WIKWIO portal is linked to a couple of free mobile applications available for Android and IOS systems. The application WIKWIO IDAO is dedicated to weed identification, while WIKWIO Citizen Science concerns the posting and browsing of observations in the field. After two years of work, the portal comprises a weed database of 350 species with a network of 466 reg-istered members involved in weed management in the Western Indian Ocean region. We expect to extend the area of interest of the portal to the Sub-Saharan African region with the collaboration of the FAO.

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