A new state-of-the-art mobile application has been launched – available on computers or smartphones – to help smallholder farmers in Vietnam identify pests and diseases which can devastate their dragon fruit crops.
Vietnam is the largest producer of dragon fruit in Asia and is the leading exporter of the ‘super fruit’ in the world. According to the General Department of Customs, dragon fruit accounts for 32% of Vietnam’s total export value of vegetables and fruits – worth more than US$230 million annually.
However, like many food crops, dragon fruit is susceptible to a range of potentially devastating pests and diseases including the fungal diseases Anthracnose (Colletotrichum gloeosporioides) and Botryosphaeria dothidea as well as the pathogen Bipoaris cactivora.
But the AI Plant Doctor app, created by BOM Software in collaboration with CABI scientists working across South East Asia, is the latest technological tool which allows farmers, crop experts and Plantwise plant doctors – working from plant clinics – the ability to identify, diagnose and treat pests and disease affecting the dragon fruit tree.
Under the CABI-led Plantwise programme, the app has been piloted with the support of Vietnamese experts from the Center for Vietnam Science and Technology Internationalization Promotion (VISTIP) and the Southern Horticultural Research Institute (SOFRI) and was recently showcased at the AI Innovation Hub Incubation Center, in Ho Chi Minh City, as part of an event organised by Ho Chi Minh City High-Tech Park (SHTP) and one in TECHFEST 2020, a national festival for innovative start-ups in Hanoi
It has now been officially launched and demonstrated at the Mekong Hotel in Tien Giang province, Vietnam, in the presence of the project’s partners, local agriculture leaders and various public, private and international stakeholders.
Dr Muhammad Faheem, Integrated Crop Management Advisor based at CABI’s Malaysia office, is working as part of a team liaising with the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), BOM Software Ltd and Nhat Dien Agriculture Enterprise (NDAE).
Dr Faheem said, “Dragon fruit is an incredibly important crop for both Vietnam’s domestic and international markets – even more so than longan and mango fruits. But dragon fruit trees are at risk from pests and diseases.
“We see the AI Plant Doctor app being a valuable tool in helping farmers to identify and then take action to protect their crops and ultimately their livelihoods and national and global food security. This application shall also be developed from Dragon fruit to many other crops to make Vietnam to step forward in its impressive agricultural transformation approaching IR 4.0 technologies in the future.
“Moving forward, we will continue to work in partnership to see how the app can also help farmers blighted by other pests and diseases on other crops.”
Main image: Dragon fruit (Credit: Pixabay).
See also the blog ‘Introducing the AI Plant Doctor at the AI Innovation Hub, Vietnam.’
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