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Africa: New app diagnoses crop diseases and notifies farmers

A team of scientists has developed a mobile phone application which uses artificial intelligence (AI) to accurately identify crop diseases in the field. The app also delivers the latest advice to manage all major diseases and pests that affect root, tuber and banana crops, and helps African farmers identify the nearest agricultural extension support for the farmers. 

The project which is being implemented by a global network of scientists is part of the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research’s (CGIAR) research programme on Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB).

“As smartphones become more common in rural Africa, they also become handy in agricultural productivity.”

“Smallholder farmers or extension officials having basic smartphones with a camera can download the application free of charge, run it up and point the camera at a leaf that has disease indications. They will then get an immediate diagnosis of the disease affecting the plant.” said Dr James Legg, a researcher at the IITA, in Tanzania, who heads the project alongside Dr David Hughes of Penn State University.


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