New app diagnoses crop diseases in the field and alerts rural farmers
A team under the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB) has developed a mobile app that uses artificial intelligence to accurately diagnose crop diseases in the field. The team has won a $US100,000 award to help expand their project to help millions of small-scale farmers across Africa.
The app provides advice on all major diseases and pests of root, tuber and banana crops, sends SMS alerts to farmers about potential diseases for their crops and pinpoints the location of the nearest agricultural extension support for farmers.
“Smartphones are becoming more and more common in rural Africa. Smallholders or extension officers with a basic smartphone with a camera will be able to download the app for free, fire it up, point it at a leaf with disease symptoms and get an instant diagnosis. That is truly revolutionary!” said Dr. James Legg of the International Institute of Topical Agriculture (IITA).
The team will deliver farmer tailored SMS alerts on crop diseases and pests to 350,000 Kenyan farmers by July 2018. The project is being carried out by a global network of scientists from IITA, Penn State, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), the International Potato Center (CIP) and Bioversity International, as part of the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB).