AN INTEGRATED INFORMATION SYSTEM TO FACILITATE FARMERS IN WHEAT, SUGARCANE AND OTHER CROP DISEASES IDENTIFICATION
Arshia Naeem*, Maria Anjum*, Mariam Rehman*, Zahid Mahmood** and Muhammad Asif Kamran**
E-agriculture is an emerging area that integrates agriculture and rural development with information communication technology (ICT). In developing countries such as Pakistan, economy largely depends on agriculture. Therefore, the need to move from conventional ways of farming to easy, effective and efficient smart solutions are required to minimize yield losses in crop plants. An integrated application to facilitate farmers to communicate their crop related issues directly to agriculture scientists is proposed. This 'AXPERT Platform' consists of web application that provides user centered interface to farmers and a desktop application that facilitates agricultural scientists to identify crop diseases. A case study was developed from Faisalabad region where information about crops, their soil conditions and associated diseases were provided on a web application. An online registration facility was provided along with interface to send image of crop related diseases. The desktop application consisted of an image analyzer that received images from web application and processes them to identify crop disease. The proposed platform was evaluated in collaboration with researchers from Ayub Agricultural Research Institute (AARI), Faisalabad by employing walkthrough and survey with farmers and agriculturists. The study is first attempt in terms of practical usage of ICT tools to bridge research and extension gap and can be used by agricultural policy makers to support agricultural services for farming communities who are otherwise deprived of extension services due to large number of farmers and their huge spread throughout the country.
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