IITA: New app diagnoses crop diseases in the field and alerts rural farmers




29 September 2017 The team behind a new mobile app that uses artificial intelligence to accurately diagnose crop diseases in the field has won a $US100,000 award to help expand their project to help millions of small-scale farmers across Africa.


Cassava brown streak disease is spreading westward across the African continent, and together with cassava mosaic disease, threatens the food and income security of over 30 million farmers in East and Central Africa. Likewise, banana is threatened by fungal and bacterial diseases including the devastating Banana bunchy top virus, while late blight still plagues potato farmers.


Farmers are often unable to properly identify these diseases, while researchers, plant health authorities and extension organizations lack the data to support them.


To stop the spread of these pests and diseases, a team under the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB) has developed a revolutionary app to accurately diagnose diseases in the field, which will be combined with SMS services to send alerts to thousands of rural farmers.


“Smartphones are becoming more and more common in rural Africa. Smallholders or extension officers with a basic smartphone with a camera will be able to download the app for free, fire it up, point it at a leaf with disease symptoms and get an instant diagnosis. That is truly revolutionary!” explained Dr. James Legg of the International Institute of Topical Agriculture (IITA), who leads the project together with Dr. David Hughes of Penn State.


The app will also provide the latest management advice for all major diseases and pests of root, tuber and banana crops, and pinpoint the location of the nearest agricultural extension support for farmers.


The team were winners of a $US100,000 grant as part of the CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture Inspire Challenges at the Big Data in Agriculture Convention 2017 in Cali, Colombia on 21 September.



Go back


DRC-MEDD - Forest: the reallocation of 650,000 hectares of DRC forests does not violate the moratorium (MEDD)

In response to charges made by the international NGO, Greenpeace, against the Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development (MEDD), Minister Ambatobe’s office has released a statement to clarify some aspects of the case. In a press release issued Tuesday evening, 20 January 2018, regarding Greenpeace’s allegations, the MEDD insisted and signed a statement to the effect that, "the reallocation of said concessions does not violate the moratorium on logging concessions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo".

Read more …

FAO-Gabon: Validation workshop on Participatory Forestry review in Gabon

In a bid to help Gabon’s participatory forestry sector reach its full potential, the Ministry of Forestry and the Environment has conducted a study to review participatory forestry with the technical assistance of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The FAO’s framework for assessing the extent and effectiveness of Participatory Forestry was used to conduct the study. A validation workshop on the study was held from 21 to 22 February 2018.

Read more …

Greenpeace-Rainforest Foundation: DRC government reinstates illegal logging concessions in breach of its own moratorium

Kinshasa, 20 February 2018. The Congolese Minister of Environment, Amy Ambatobe, has reinstated 6,500 km² of logging concessions that were cancelled in August 2016 by one of his predecessors, Robert Bopolo, on the orders of then Prime Minister Augustin Matata Ponyo. The three concessions which were reinstated on 1 February 2018 were awarded to the Chinese-owned logging companies FODECO and SOMIFOR.

Read more …

Final communique: Relaunch workshop of the National Forum of the Conference on Dense and Humid Forest ecosystems of Central Africa (CEFDHAC - Cameroon)

The meeting of the National Forum of the Conference on Dense and Humid Forest ecosystems of Central Africa- Cameroon (CEFDHAC) was held on 13 and 14 February 2018 at the Yaoundé Conference Centre.

Read more …

Thegef: International Women’s Day 2018: Transforming women’s lives and securing a more sustainable future

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is “transforming women’s lives”, and we also need to consider the transformative role that women play in steering our planet towards a sustainable future.

Read more …

IISD: “Working Across Sectors to Halt Deforestation and Increase Forest Area” From Aspiration to Action

On Thursday morning, participants met to discuss innovative instruments to upscale progress: financing, technologies and research. Parallel sessions addressed: public and private international finance; innovative technologies for land-use monitoring; financial instruments to mobilize domestic funding; and the role of science and research.

Read more …

IISD: Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) Switzerland Launch Conference

The Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) Switzerland was launched in Bern, Switzerland, on 15 February 2018, as part of the global SDSN, a UN initiative. SDSN Switzerland aims to provide an environment to discuss challenges faced by Switzerland in the context of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, as well as the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development.

Read more …

Adaptation Fund Year in Review: 2017 Key Highlights and Accomplishments

The Adaptation Fund achieved great results in 2017, making excellent progress to help vulnerable countries adapt and build resilience to increasingly urgent climate change impacts occurring across the globe.

Read more …

CBFP News Archive