Identifying crop diseases and receiving expert diagnostic advice are only a few screen taps away. All it would take for the farmer is a smartphone and a visit to the field.
Crop Darpan, a crop diagnostic tool, is being developed at the International Institute of Information Technology-Hyderabad (IIIT-H)’s IT for Agricultural Research Centre (ITARC).
The tool seeks to bring on the same page farmers, who rely on generalised visual perception of crop diseases, and agricultural experts, who are equipped with scientific know-how to identify those diseases and suggest scientific solutions.
“We saw that farmers were reporting crop problems like holes in leaves, but were unable to communicate more such as on which part of the leaves the holes were present, their size, etc. That is important to understand crop problems. They were asking us to identify crop problems but were unable to explain the exact nature of the problem,” says P. Krishna Reddy, Crop Darpan chief investigator and head, ITARC, IIIT-H.
To overcome this, Prof Reddy says, it was important to allow farmers to frame a sequence of questions so that a solution to crop problems could be arrived at.
The Crop Darpan tool, available both in Telugu and English, and accessible on smartphones at www.cropdarpan.in, would therefore ask farmers a series of questions. It allows the user to tap on scenarios or ‘symptoms’ which are framed as questions. For instance, the tool asks the user if leaves are damaged. If the user taps ‘yes’, he is taken to another screen with a set of questions, including whether there are holes in leaves. It then asks whether these are ‘irregular’ in shape. The tool identifies the crop problem is ‘tobacco caterpillar’ and suggests measures, both chemical and organic, to control small sized larva.
“By means of data mining and data science algorithms, the tool can identify 30 crop problems and solutions,” Prof Reddy says.
Round 2 of testing
Recently, village level coordinators were appointed. They will work closely with farmers in Warangal and Shankarpally, and gather information.
The tool will go through another round of testing in four to five months. It is a collaborative effort of IIIT-H, IIT-H, IIT-B, Prof Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University and the University of Tokyo.