Volume 16 Part 1 Article 98: Agora: A Pest and Disease Management System for Mushrooms

Volume 16 Part 1 Article 98
Year 2004
Title: Agora: A Pest and Disease Management System for Mushrooms
Authors: B. Warren, N. McGilvray, G.K. Seymour, A. Clift, J. Allan and M. Daniels


In 2001, Rapid Corporation Pty Ltd., an Australian software development company, was approached by a mushroom industry taskforce to assist with the development of an internet-based communication, information, and database collaboration platform. During 2001, members of the Australian Mushroom Growers Association (AMGA) were surveyed to determine the status of pests, pesticide usage, and pest management in the industry. The outcome of this and other industry projects indicated a need to provide both information and assistance to growers to manage their specific situations. To do this, first an interactive diagnosis system was set up – project name Agora. A grower could log into the system via the internet, submit a question or diagnosis request and had it dealt with by an expert with experience in managing pest and disease problems in the mushroom industry. Second, an information package, the knowledge base, an interactive virtual library, was integrated into the Agora diagnosis system. An important aspect of this management system was the initial electronic contact through the system by a grower/manager, and then a follow-through by the expert. This involved interaction via e-mails and/or telephone, sometimes recommending that samples be submitted to laboratories for pest or disease identification. There was also an option to refer the grower/manager to specific sections within the knowledge base. The final stage was working with the grower/manager to manage their problem.

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