Though cassava is tolerant to droughts and capable of growing with minimal soil, making it an ideal crop in harsh weather conditions,it’s also susceptible to many diseases and pests. The symptoms of a diseased plant develop slowly, so it can be difficult for farmers to diagnose these problems in time.
PlantVillage Nuru is transforming on-farm pest and disease monitoring through their through artificial intelligence (AI), advanced sensor technology, and crowdsourcing capable of connecting the global agricultural community to help smallholder farmers better identify and manage cassava diseases quickly, leading to increased yields and income.
How does it work?
- The team annotated more than 200,000 cassava plant images, identifying and classifying diseases to train a machine learning model.
- Once the model was trained to identify diseases,the AI assistant, PlantVillage Nuru, was deployed in the app.
- Farmers can wave their phone in front of a cassava leaf and if a plant has a disease, the app can identify the disease and give options on the best ways to manage it.
- PlantVillage Nuru, the free-for-download phone application, works offline and has proved twice as accurate in its diagnosis as extension workers.
- The app has been downloaded by users on all developing continents, generating more than 18,000 reports which are generated each time the app is used correctly—from users in more than 40 countries.
- The project is expanding from cassava disease diagnostics to the ability to diagnose additional crop diseases. An accurate model for potato diseases, for example, is expected to reach 200,000 farmers in India in 2020.