Digital device promises to save millions of farmers
- The device relies on artificial intelligence, data analysis and machine learning and has several small camera modules interfaced to a computer system.
- Esther Kimani of Farmer-Life-Line Technologies Ltd, Kenya, said the innovation was inspired by the need to find a solution to the widespread crop destruction.
A Kenya-based company has invented a device capable of detecting diseases and pests in crops at an early stage, which is expected to save farmers millions of shillings which are normally used for diagnosis and late treatment.
The device relies on artificial intelligence, data analysis and machine learning and has several small camera modules interfaced to a computer system.
Esther Kimani of Farmer-Life-Line Technologies Ltd, Kenya, said the innovation was inspired by the need to find a solution to the widespread destruction of crops by pests, pathogens or delayed treatment of diseases in the region. .
âThe camera system is programmed to periodically capture images of crops in the field and process the images using advanced computer vision algorithms to determine the nature of the infection or infestation, pests or pathogens, âshe said.
The device is one of three other technologies that were presented for consideration at the Comesa Innovation Awards at the 8th Annual Comesa Research Forum which just concluded this month.
The device comes with a camera that works on solar energy and can work even during the rainy seasons. It has 48-hour energy retention capacity and can effectively detect diseases and pests of crops within a radius of 730 meters.
The camera has a long sole usually sunk into the ground with the camera-bullet interface overlooking the plants / farm to detect and predict crop diseases, pathogens and pest infections and send SMS alert to farmers phone .
Some of the problems this technology seeks to address include the late identification of crop diseases and pest infestations, the use of the wrong chemicals and pesticides due to inaccurate identification of crop diseases and pests, and the incorrect fertilizer application due to incorrect disease predictions.
The company plans to market the data generated by the devices to governments and non-governmental organizations to help them with policy making.
It will also sell or rent the devices to farmers and farmer groups.
So far, the innovator has acquired patents for the technology and intends to partner with the ministries of agriculture of Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi and Egypt by 2022. .
The winning technology receives a financial reward to support its further development and commercialization. The award is presented at the Comesa Heads of State Summit.
The Comesa Innovation Award program was launched in 2013 to recognize and celebrate individuals and institutions who have used science, technology and innovation to advance the regional integration agenda.
The awards target small and medium-sized enterprises, young people, women, groups and institutions in Comesa member states.
The other innovation presented at the forum was a drug dispenser developed by a Zambian.
The innovation known as the BRIISP Medicine Dispenser aims to improve access to health services, especially in developing countries, where medical facilities are far from each other.
Another innovation was that of Kanhye Health Foods Company, the pioneering commercial grower and producer of Moringa plant products in Mauritius.
The company manufactures a variety of products, including nutraceuticals, dietary supplements and infusion tea.