Recognizing crop diseases often requires a professional who can see the crop and diagnose the problems, as a doctor sees the patient and diagnoses the disease. But this is quite a costly option, especially for the small farmers in India.
Each year, farmers in India face a number of problems including drought, crop disease, low market price, and lack of modern equipment. Recognizing the difficulties of these farmers, a group of graduate students in Germany has developed a crop disease recognition app called Plantix.
PEAT is the company behind this app. They did a lot of research to know the needs of the farmers in India. The researcher traveled a lot in India’s rural areas to find the needs of the farmers. Although the prices of smartphones are dropping, many farmers in India still do not have a smartphone. But the farmers who own a smartphone are willing to help their fellow farmers.
All a farmer has to do is take a photo of the affected crop, and the disease recognition app will apply machine learning to find out the disease. The app not only diagnoses the disease but also tries to recommend the solution. It can recognize many diseases like potassium deficiency, rust on wheat, or the deficiency of nutrition in banana.
The disease recognition app works like a human brain. Pathologists and other experts of the field guide the app and then the app gets more and more expert in recognizing diseases.
One problem that the app is facing is the difference in the names of diseases. Local farmers in India know the crop diseases by quite different names as compared to the scientists. And there are differences between one area to another within India. The app is currently available in English, Hindi, Telugu, and five other languages.
With such innovation, we can expect that smartphone apps will help the most underprivileged farmer community in developing nations.
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