March 25, 2021

Young innovators develops an app that detects plant disease

City: JimmaTech

Debo Engineering has developed an algorithm that automatically detects and classifies plant  disease through image detection.

Avatar: Fahmi Jemal
By Fahmi Jemal

Young innovators develops an app that detects plant disease

Debo Engineering has developed an algorithm that automatically detects and classifies plant  disease through image detection. Boaz Berhanu and Jermia Bayisa, are co-founders of Debo Engineering, they both have engineering backgrounds  they develop a software company located in Jimma Ethiopia for solving the problem of the community. Debo engineering is an integrated engineering discipline organization based recently on emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, ML, IOT, Image Processing, Big Data analysis, mobile computing, and any field related to engineering. Debo design, analyzes, develops, and implements smart business applications solutions for any problems that need Digital solutions for agriculture, transportation, health, education, and other sectors.

Jermia and Boaz in collaboration have accomplished astonishing innovation and technology that by large can contribute to Ethiopian economic and technology development. 

Debo Engineering has  developed an algorithm automatically detects and classifies plant diseases through image detection.The technology outlines the steps that need to be taken after the disease has been identified, and customers can sign up for a monthly membership through the Internet or a phone app to take advantage of the service.

It is important for farmers to easily detect the problems and especially for big agricultural lands. By using this technology farmers can monitor their farm lands via mobile application which is functional in four local languages. The algorithm also has the capability of early disease detection on large commercial farms to be happened and ability to identify over 24 diseases.

Jermia told Addis Zeybe Since agriculture is a backbone of Ethiopian economy, I and Boaz have focused on solving critical problems related to agriculture production, especially on detecting diseases, Jermia said. Plant identifying disease and their control system is a headache for the scholars in the area. 

Jermia and Boaz strongly believe that plants can’t speak their problems so there must be some expert system that can speak to them. “We have exploited both from Jimma and Haramaya University to enrich our knowledge in the area and collected enough data for our project. An overall aim of the project is to identify plant disease only by capturing leaves of the plant via Smartphone and desktop apps. In the meanwhile pre-detection of diseases losing productivity and taking remedial actions using drones are also part of the project” Jermia said.

They told Addis Zeybe that they have represented Ethiopia and participated in one national and four international competitions using an application they developed for Plant disease detection. So far, this project has won and been awarded twice. 

The plant disease detection project won Ethiopia Green Innovation and Agri-tech slam 2019 competition in the category of Agri-Entrepreneur with Digital Innovation. After our project won the award, we have included various new features using what we have awarded. As a result, our application can now identify around twenty four types of plant diseases. Ethiopian telecommunication identified that there are more than sixty percent smart mobile phone users in Ethiopia. Therefore, using the application would be simple to use. Sometimes, we use desktop applications and drone cameras when there are wide and long plants.

The innovators are collecting data via various Ethiopian languages using recently launched Artificial Intelligence in Addis Ababa. After the conversion of those characters into computer languages, a system can understand the user's sound as well. Therefore, illiteracy can’t hinder the farmers from using the application. 

They have replied to Addis Zeybe's question about their future plan that they have represented Ethiopia and participated in Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology-MEST African Challenge 2020. They have actually won community votes. They spoke to Addis Zeybe that in the future, they will go to Ghana for three month mentorship and entrepreneurship; marketing and innovation training as well.