A new application that enables farmers to identify pests and diseases using their mobile phones and get remedial steps has been developed.
The International Crops Research for Semi-Arid Tropic (ICRISAT) and its partners are behind the new mobile app known as ‘Plantix’.
A farmer only uploads a photo of their infected crop and the app gives an immediate diagnosis. The app also provides information on how to prevent the disease in the next cropping season, with biological treatment options also available.
Currently, the database has more than 60,000 photographs and covers over 90 crops grown worldwide as well as prescriptions for 200 crop diseases.
Every time a farmer uploads a photograph for diagnosis, it will be time marked and geo-referenced.
This database facilitates pest and disease outbreak monitoring, and can send early warning messages for specific locations.
The application takes up the role of an extension worker in the field. It can be downloaded on any Android-based mobile device.
For farmers without a smartphone, an extension worker or farm facilitator or progressive farmer equipped with a tablet or smartphone can be the mediator.
To overcome connectivity issues, photographs can be taken and later uploaded when Internet connectivity is available.
“The ICRISAT Integrated Crop Management (ICM) team is actively working to capture good quality images of diseases and pests of mandate crops. We have now captured the major diseases of the pigeon pea such as Fusarium wilt, sterility mosaic disease and Phytophthora blight,” said Dr Mamta Sharma, an ICM expert.