Inspiration

  • Remember what caused part of downfall in the agricultural economic state in 2017? 2018? 2019? 202... no, wait, we are stopping the trend. We realized that many farmers lack knowledge on what affects their crops. This leads to huge losses on the total production of the farm outputs. An example is 40% of total food production in the country being affected by pests and diseases.
  • Enormous amounts of toxic chemicals are dumped on land every year, making industrial agriculture and general food production unsustainable. This also affects the country's economy negatively at a large scale. We aim at rectifying this.
  • The Covid-19 Pandemic has loomed and farmers cannot get help from the agricultural extension services due to the social distancing regulations by the World Health Organization hence they suffer from random attacks by pest and diseases and they are not conversant of what measures to take.
  • Farmers getting less money from their produce because of unregulated plant diseases.
  • The cost of educating the farmer on the farm inputs is quite expensive, and therefore we came up with a solution to cater for all of these: Plant Signal

What it does

Plant Signal is a free, offline, interactive, easy to use smartphone app for our farmers.

The farmer detects pest and diseases, just by taking a picture of the suspicious crop, gets real-time diagnosis of the plant and recommendation of unharmful agrochemicals to apply to resolve the issue and get a plenty harvest.

The main features of the application are:

  1. Camera for pest and disease detection
  2. Recommendation for plant remedies
  3. Connection to agrochemical stores for remedy purchases
  4. Live chat with remote agricultural extension officers.
  5. E-commerce platform to obtain farm utilities.
  6. Deliveries for ordered chemicals/farm inputs

How I built it

  • The app is powered by a strong Artificial Intelligence network that delivers a diagnosis in seconds.
  • The app majorly depends on machine learning algorithms where we have been able to use close to 25000 data sets of various images of diseases that commonly affect the crops.
  • The application is constantly updated for high accuracy achievement.
  • The application also leverages offline capability therefore enabling farmers to use the app to diagnose plant diseases without Internet connection. This makes the application usable in extreme remote areas
  • The application is built using java programing language and integrated with machine learning. The portal that the farmers interact with the agrovets and agrochemicals is is built using PHP, html and JavaScript

Challenges I ran into

Some of the challenges that I faced is getting finances to keep the machine learning model running and also updating the datasets. Enrolling farmers to the platform as most of then do not have smartphones. Eliminating counterfeit chemicals in the market.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

  • We have 100+ users who have already downloaded the app from Google play store.
  • There are over 200 Beta testers on the platform.
  • The prototype woks just as i expected
  • The solution provides an offline mode hence the farmer incurs no cost of bundles

What I learned

  • It takes two to tango so as to make a society realize the worth of tech. We are ahead of tech as a team but the country is still a step behind in embracing tech.
  • The agriculture sector is revolving in a very fast tune to adopting tech and we are in the right and best time to make this happen. This is the very first startup that is addressing the farmers challenge from the grassroot.

What's next for Plant Signal

Integration of a WhatsApp bot where the farmer can be able to interact with our virtual agent and get fast responses immediately.

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