On Saturday, a group of innovators led by Ms. Christine Kihunde unveiled a pilot test of their new project, ‘Plant Scope’ that detects diseases and pests in plants. The new tech detects plant diseases that are in their very-early stages before widely spreading to kill the plant.
Plant Scope uses deep neural networks and machine learning to detect these diseases using image classification taken by a Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and processed via a mobile application.
Today the agricultural sector has become dominant in Uganda’s economy. The country is able to rely on agriculture because of the excellent fertile soils and regular rainfall.
The key agricultural produce are divided into cash crops, food crops, and horticultural produce with domination being food crops. Primary food crops are mainly for domestic consumption. These include plantains, cassava, maize, millet, and sorghum.
Before harvest, these crops have a high chance of getting affected by pesticides and diseases. In its very early-stages, the farmer might not see anything with his/her bare eyes and this is where technology comes in.
With technological advancement, farmers are today being introduced to tools that can be of use in the farm. Thereby, improving farming productivity as well as increasing profits.
On Feb. 15th saw a group of innovators unveiling their pilot project, Plant Scope which uses deep neural networks and machine learning to detect these diseases/pesticides using image classification taken by a drone, smartphone or a digital camera.
The idea Co-founder by Ms Kihunde — uses an algorithms to integrate and analyze the captured images to provide a detailed report on the plant’s health accurately and faster. Thereby detecting diseases and pests. This helps farmers to provide early treatment before the disease widely spreading to substantially reduce economic losses. The ability to control diseases at early stage is a top priority for farmers.
Besides giving a diagnosis and steps to mitigate the disease, the app also provides information on preventing the disease in the next cropping season.
According to the team, with the power of machine learning, they integrate the latest technologies into agriculture making it accessible to everyone.
“This is our contribution to securing global food production. Specializing in agricultural crops that feed the world, Plant Scope empowers farmers to make a living by providing comprehensive support on all issues that are important.”
Currently, the project’s database has over 800 photos covering eight crops. Every time a farmer uploads a photograph for diagnosis, it is time-marked and geo-referenced.
Ms Kihunde didn’t comment on the timeline of finalizing the product ready for the market.