A brand new Artificial Intelligence tool has been developed for farmers in Africa. It can predict near-term crop productivity for farmers through their smartphone. The AI assistant called 'PlantVillage Nuru' can now help the farmers in the protection of their staple crops such as maize, cassava, and beans and will also diagnose crop diseases. The Penn State researchers also tested the application which was initially made for farmers in Africa to preserve their crops, and have concluded that the application shows twice as good results as human experts. Further, the app is also known to increase the productivity of the farmers.
Could an app help farmers in Africa protect their crops in the face of climate change? @PSUresearch says yes.— Penn State (@penn_state) October 9, 2019
Discover the power behind “PlantVillage Nuru." https://t.co/ZG0ZxW6gcN pic.twitter.com/3HLdrYILgk
The associate professor of entomology and biology, David Hughes had noticed that hundreds and millions of African farmers are already suffering from the effects of climate change. Last year, which was also the hottest year recorded, Mozambique was hit by two cyclones and both were the strongest ever recorded in East Africa. The damages cost nearly $1 billion because of the damages and destroyed 80 per cent of staple crops throughout the region along with the change in rainfall pattern. The majority of the farmers were unprepared with the drastic climate change impacts which are yet to come. Plant Village assistant can be used across Africa to diagnose crop diseases after positive test results by the researchers.
Updates in the AI tool for farmers has enabled it to draw data from the United Nations' Water Productivity through Open access of Remotely sensed derived data portal. It is a database that integrates nearly ten years of data derived by satellite from NASA and also computes the relevant statistics for crop productivity in terms of the water available. The AI tool incorporates weather reports, soil data for Africa, and the United Nations Crop calendar, along with a series of algorithms on adaptive measures that can arise under certain conditions. The application has incorporated tens and thousands of data points across Africa while more are still being collected.