Plant diseases are a major threat to farmers, consumers, environment, and the global economy. In India alone, 35% of field crops are lost to pathogens and pests causing losses to farmers. Indiscriminate use of pesticides is also a serious health concern as many are toxic and biomagnified. These adverse effects can be avoided by early disease detection, crop surveillance and targeted treatments. Most diseases are diagnosed by agricultural experts by examining external symptoms. However, farmers have limited access to experts. Our project is the first integrated and collaborative platform for automated disease diagnosis, tracking and forecasting. Farmers can instantly and accurately identify diseases and get solutions with a mobile app by photographing affected plant parts. Realtime diagnosis is enabled using the latest Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms for Cloud-based image processing. The AI model continuously learns from user uploaded images and expert suggestions to enhance its accuracy. Farmers can also interact with local experts through the platform. For preventive measures, disease density maps with spread forecasting are rendered from a Cloud based repository of geo-tagged images and micro-climactic factors. A web interface allows experts to perform disease analytics with geographical visualizations. In our experiments, the AI model (CNN) was trained with large disease datasets, created with plant images self-collected from many farms over 7 months. Test images were diagnosed using the automated CNN model and the results were validated by plant pathologists. Over 95% disease identification accuracy was achieved. Our solution is a novel, scalable and accessible tool for disease management of diverse agricultural crop plants and can be deployed as a Cloud based service for farmers and experts for ecologically sustainable crop production.
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