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App Helps African Farmers Detect Crop Disease

App Helps African Farmers Detect Crop Disease
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App Helps African Farmers Detect Crop Disease

BINGUELA, CAMEROON —For Alain Lietbou, it has become a ritual: Every time he visits his farm, Lietbou uses the app to monitor the health of his tomatoes. It detects crop disease and suggests treatments and prevention measures. With it, he says, he spends less and produces more.

Lietbou uses the app called Agrix. Using the app is simple. The user focuses the phone’s camera on a leaf or fruit. The application analyzes the image and gives a diagnosis within a few seconds.

Agrix co-founder Dorothée Mvondo says the app is still in development but has been tested by hundreds of farmers.

Joseph Mpoh is an agronomist and trainer at the School of Agriculture of Binguela, a state agricultural school.

He’s tested the app and says it’s promising, although some improvements are still needed, mostly that is be available in more languages.

Mvondo says the plan is to roll out the app across Africa beginning next year.

She trained at the State Institute of Agricultural Research for Development. Now, she hopes the app will give farmers real solutions and options, since the pesticides sold in the shops are mostly chemical.

The potential impact of such an app could be significant, she adds. According to the International Center for Agriculture and Biosciences, farmers in Africa lose an estimated 49% of their expected total crop yield per year, the highest rate of crop loss in the world.