Because potato growers need to identify and manage diseases in their fields, the AI-powered mobile app PlantVillage Nuru has been expanded to include them also. More than two million farmers in East Africa who depend on potatoes will be able to point their smartphones at a plant and receive an instant disease diagnosis through the PlantVillage Nuru app.
Initially, the app was designed to be twice as good as extension workers in East Africa in diagnosing cassava diseases and has been a major help to cassava farmers.
“We’ve come a long way with disease detection and the rapid dissemination of management advice since the Irish Potato Famine ravaged my home country,” said David Hughes, Ph.D., Department of Entomology, PennState College of Agricultural Sciences.
With support from the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers, and Bananas (RTB) and the CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture, PlantVillage Nuru has been expanded to include potato late blight (Phytophthora infestans) and early blight (Alternaria solani).
Mobile phone usage is high amongst farmers in African countries such as Kenya but not all farmers have an Android smartphone. “Through our CGIAR INSPIRE grant we are providing phones to potato farmers in Kenya to replicate the success we had with cassava,” said David.