A farmer harvesting bananas in Karagwe, Tanzania.
Photo: ©FAO/Simon Maina.

11.09.2019

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A new Artificial Intelligence tool offers an opportunity for banana farmers to improve crop surveillance, fast-track control and mitigation efforts, and help them prevent production losses.

The new app named Tumaini - which means “hope” in Swahili - developed by researchers from the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and Bioversity International aims to help smallholder banana growers quickly detect a disease or pest and prevent a wide outbreak from happening. Tumaini has been freely available since late August 2019. Using artificial intelligence, with an average 90 per cent success rate, the tool can help farmers avoid millions of dollars in losses. 

Five major diseases and one common pest can be detected by Tumaini: Xanthomonas wilt of banana (BXW), Fusarium wilt of banana (FWB), black sigatoka (BS), yellow sigatoka (YS) and banana bunchy top disease (BBTV) along with the banana corm weevil (BCW) pest class.

The app could be helpful in the current TR4 outbreak in Latin America since it is trained for fusarium wilt classes. So far, it has been tested in Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, India, Benin, China and Uganda.

Easy to use for farmers

If farmers see some symptoms on the banana plants, they take a photograph and click the scan button on the app.

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