FROM HEALTH CRISIS TO LOOMING FOOD CRISIS: Billions of dollars of crops and millions of livelihoods are destroyed by Fall Armyworms. SBSF Consultancy published a very detailed analysis on Medium.
The spread of FAW from Americas to almost all continents share a similarity with COVID-19, except that FAW is a voracious pest feeding on >350 plant species causing extensive damage. Highly resilient, FAW reproduces at a rate of several generations/year, and the moth can fly up to 100 km per night.
In an attempt to understand this “ineradicable” pest and the enormity of challenges in controlling it, we have successfully combined the FAO FAMEWS dataset (outbreaks) with FLDAS (weather) and HWSD (soils). The 3 datasets were merged based on the geo-coordinates of the crop fields in FAMEWS. We used Extreme Gradient Boosting and the results are available in the article.
That disparate datasets can be used to derive quantifiable insights which are consistent with empirical research demonstrates the potential of Data Science and Machine Learning in agriculture. It also helps identify the gaps in existing surveys to make it more tailored for use in forecasting outbreaks through predictive modelling.
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