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September 30th, 2017 / CGIAR

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. Read more