Published: 02nd February 2021
Via varied questions, this AgriTech app by an IIIT Hyderabad team helps farmers detect crop diseases in a jiffy
Crop Darpan lines up simple questions which guide the farmer towards a solution for their disease-ridden crop. They have an app and a portal which is currently available in both English and Telugu
Sometimes, answering questions only leads to more questions. That's what Prof P Krishna Reddy discovered when he distilled two decades of work into his app, eSagu. It worked on a simple model — farmers click pictures of their crop and send them to experts at the agri lab in IIIT Hyderabad who then get back with their diagnosis as to what ails the crop. He even tried to display the diagnosis on the notice boards of villages, but more questions arose and scalability also proved to be a problem. That's when the Data Science researcher started working on Crop Darpan.
Farmer looking at the eSagu noticeboard | (Pic: P Krishna Reddy)
As soon as the farmer opens the app or the portal and selects the crop (cotton only for now) and language (Telugu or English), a set of hierarchical questions follow that are related to the visual symptoms of the plant. For example, 'Do you observe any stem damage?'. Simple and straightforward. Via these questions, once the symptom is confirmed, another set of questions follow to narrow down to the exact disease and then, the advice follows. What makes this diagnostic tool more special is that it was developed under an Indo-Japan Joint Research Laboratory Project titled 'Data Science-based farming support system for sustainable crop production under climatic change'. "It took over three years to fine-tune the questions alone and we went through several iterations with agriculture experts and the researchers at Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University," says Prof Reddy.
Students Srinivas Annapalli, Aravinda Gadamsetty, Revanth Parvathaneni and Saideep Chennupati are also part of the team
Since the professor has been on ground for this for a very long time — last week he was in Malkapur — one of his first assumptions to shatter was that everyone has a smartphone and knows how to operate it. "But we have managed to get a few farmers on board so that we can get constant feedback," says the professor who has been working at IIIT-H since 2002. For now, as many as 100 farmers have downloaded the app though it is yet to be released officially.
With the team and framers | (Pic: P Krishna Reddy)
The professor also points out that to release an app is one thing but ensuring usage is another, which is why he along with his team have been visiting villages. There are various categories of AgriTechs today and this particular one is an advisory tool. IoT devices might be expensive and applicable to farms that grow grapes and such, while satellite imagery might not work for farmers with small landholdings like half an acre. "Which is why an advisory tool is much needed," says the 55-year-old. And to run this tool, Data Science and IT have been proven to be enough.
The other participating institutes are IIT Bombay and the University of Tokyo
The work is on to include a questionnaire on rice crops as well and to launch it in other languages too, the one they are working on currently is Hindi.
Questions to expect:
- Do you observe any damage on the flowers?
- Do you detect damage in the whole plant?
- Do you observe any damage on the lint?
For more on them, check out cropdarpan.in