Giko: A GPS-enabled mobile platform for sustainable crop protection against diseases using image location algorithms

If agriculture is to be safe, healthy and sustainable, it is essential to have healthy crops; they play a role in producing sufficient quantities of healthy foods and contribute to the quality of life. Knowledge of interaction between crops and the disease that affect them enable successful and sustainable integrated crop protection.

One key idea of new practices in agriculture is the use of Smartphone applications which takes as input the images from built-in cameras, then uses its computation power to perform computer vision algorithms, and produces useful data from the input images which can be used to monitor field and crop conditions such as identification of crop diseases, the diseases’ exhibition locations on crops, and their prevention and cure. This saves crop farmers’ time and costs and helps them make informed decisions.

My idea for sustainable crop protection

Giko is a GPS-enabled mobile platform which aids crop disease outbreak notification, identification, control and monitoring in a sustainable way.

Steps involved

Step 1: Crop farmers use the Giko app to capture images of crops suspected to be diseased and submit same to the app via the farmers’ login. A notification is received by the Giko team.

Step 2: Having received the submission, the leaf images are preprocessed and segmented by a clustering algorithm into diseased and non-diseased portion of the leaf, cropped only to the location of the largest diseased patch on the leaf and transmitted over the internet by the team, via the admin login in the app, to crop pathologists at the department of Crop Science, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Nigeria, where I am currently a PhD candidate, for disease identification. The image preprocessing step is necessary for saving transmission cost of sending diseased leaf images for diagnosis.

Step 3: As soon as the disease is identified by the pathologists, they send information regarding the disease, its control and preventive methods via the pathologists login in the app.  

Step 4: The Giko team publishes the information as received from the pathologists, on the app and notifies crop farmers on measures to be taken to sustainably mitigate the disease.

The cycle (step 1 through step 4) takes 8 hours max to complete.

Yes, our idea for crop protection is also sustainable!

Tips on sustainable crop protection practices in order to avoid or suppress diseases are proffered on the app and these include – planning cultivation methods and choosing crops involving preventive measures such as using disease-free seed, selecting resilient varieties and deploying resilient systems; careful monitoring of crops during growth period, and biological method of disease control, together with mechanical and non-chemical methods.

Extra add-ons

The app also

  1. Provides information on preventing the disease in the next cropping season as well as generates alerts for outbreaks in nearby areas or anywhere around the world on the mobile app using GPS.
  2. Features a special library of diseases which farmers can refer to. The library is a collection of photographs and disease prescriptions of 200+ diseases of crops grown in Nigeria, the African continent and worldwide. The app can be downloaded on any Android-based mobile device.

In case of no connectivity, photographs can be taken and later uploaded when internet connectivity is available. For farmers without a smart phone, a progressive farmer equipped with a tablet or smart phone can be the mediator. Every time a farmer uploads a photograph for diagnosis, it is automatically time-marked and saved in the app for future reference.

Yes, the app is Giko’s!

In collaboration with the Giko team and crop pathologists at the Department of Crop Science, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, the mobile app will be developed exclusively for the Giko team by Snow White Technologies Limited, a Nigerian tech Company.

Why I am passionate about this idea – the gains and my motivation

Given the rampant overuse of chemical method of disease control in Nigeria, the app will help disseminate best practice methods to mitigate crop diseases – with no harm to the environment.

This innovative digital solution will control disease outbreak more effectively, leading reduction in losses associated with diseases, thereby sustainably increasing food production, crop farmers’ income and improve their livelihoods.

I believe that the use of photos and maps in the app will lead to higher adoption rates and motivate farmers in disease control in their farms effectively.  

Finally, as a PhD candidate conducting studies on how sustainable agricultural practices can reduce poverty (a key objective of my doctoral research), this idea will help me progress both in my scientific career and personal development.

Morgan Obinna Okpara, Nigeria

104 comments

  1. The early warning messages for specific locations is good as it will make the farmers proactive. Wonderful project. I vote for you

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  2. This technology will help them understand that a mobile device is not just a communication tool but an important agriculture tool for communication.

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  3. We need to support this great idea coming from this student. Overall, increased productivity, improved general standard of living, etc, for the farmers will be the benefit for farmers. More so, we must incoprared the use of technology in farming.

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  4. This project should make the cut. It perfectly identifies a major problem faced by crop farmers and , proffers an innovative way of handing it.

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  5. It is good for farmers to be ICT compliant. A lot of rural farmers in my district can neither read nor write. This will help them immensely.

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  6. Shouldn’t we encourage the idea. For me, it is apt and a timely intervention for diseases that have been ravaging our crops.

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  7. Wholeheartedly, I wood say, this project is very good one. Innovations to drive disease control using ICT should be encouraged.

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  8. Giko succinctly describes the use if smartphones in agriculture. And as for crop diseases, it is going to my help farmers increase their productivity. A

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  9. healthy crops play a role in producing sufficient quantities of healthy foods and contribute to the quality of life, and that is why we should support this innovation. Thanks

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  10. This is an innovative project that should help farmers greatly. It is a technical way of controlling diseases in the field. I will give it my support and hope it makes it to the award. Congrats to the owners if this project.

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  11. Farmers in my community do not even know when their crops are affected. Would there be different language translations for non-English-speaking farmers?

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  12. THis is a good study. I hope the entire pathways would be without hitches. However, African farmers need this type of innovation. Goodluck

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  13. I like the aspect that says crop farmers without phones can learn from colleagues. I sincerely think this will help farmers in my district overcome their numerous challenges.

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  14. Use of smartphobes to monitor fiedl crop conditions is similar to a project i did in Dutse a year ago. I think it is a goood idea, since it willo help farmers a lot. But you need support to make it happen. Best wihes and goodluck

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  15. This project, aside improving farmer’s standard id living in the king run, will also help crop farmers improve their literacy level.

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  16. Giko has to be available in different languages for easy easy understanding for farmers that cannot read nor write. But overall, it is a wonderful project and I endorse it.

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  17. Giko is a wonderful opportunity showcasing the power if ICT in crop farming and this – is the future.

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  18. The fact that this app will contain info on crop disease outbreak notification, identification, control and monitoring makes it a powerful tool for farmers. I wish the team good luck.

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