Nuru is a mobile AI assistant that works inside a standard smartphone and is capable of accurately diagnosing cassava diseases offline, without an internet connection.


PlantVillage has created Nuru, an AI assistant for farmers. Nuru has three components to its artificial intelligence: 1) human expert level crop disease diagnostics using computer vision; 2) above human capabilities in anomaly detection and forecasting based on ground and satellite derived data; and 3) human language comprehension and automated responses to questions posed by farmers. Our AI works with extension services, governments and the UN.

Estimated number of active users:

  • At inception: 30
  • At time of last report: 400

Evidence of impact

Nuru was, on average, twice as accurate as the extension workers she was tested against.

Nuru AI has been downloaded by users from all continents and widely used in Africa and South East Asia by the end of June 2018.

One farmer invented a novel use for the tool by using it to diagnose healthy cassava crops. By determining which crops were healthy, she was able to propagate cuttings from those plants and plant a 1 acre field of clean cassava. From this clean field (3,053 plants), at the time of harvest only 1.13% of the plants had CBSD and/or CMD. This farmer was able to increase her revenue by 55% and yields by 146% from one season of clean seeds and Nuru.

➥ Economic impact: 

Increased yield

➥ Environmental impact: 

Decreased access to agricultural information services in real time

➥ Social impact: 

Increased women participation, Increased youth participation, Improved social capital, Increased economic mobility

➥ Technical impact: 

Increased technology adoption, Improved information dissemination, Better support for extension agents, Reduced the need for agricultural extension agents

➥ Impact on overall efficiency

Decreased efficiency by 51-75%