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PlantHead Platform for crop disease detection endorsed at the United Nations

The PlantHead Platform developed by OCCAM - Observatory on Digital Communication within the EWA-BELT Poroject (GA 862848) for remote real-time plant diagnosis has been presented and endorsed during the 23rd Infopoverty World Conference on April 12, 2024 at the United Nations.

"The Planthead Platform’s primary aim is to foster real-time diagnosis and eco-friendly crop protection to address food insecurity challenges."

Watch the statements by the speakers on our "SI in Africa" Joint YouTube channel

Agriculture holds a pivotal position in Africa's economy. Over 60% of sub-Saharan Africans engage in small-scale farming, and agriculture contributes nearly a quarter of Africa’s GDP (The future of agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa” - International Fund for Agricultural Development). While already vital, there exists substantial potential for enhancement and modernization within the sector. One analysis posits that Africa can increase cereal and grain production two to threefold from current levels. Similar prospects extend to horticulture crops and livestock.

Augmented production would naturally bolster food security, elevate household incomes, and fortify farm resilience, among other advantages. Artificial Intelligence (AI) stands poised to play a crucial role in achieving this heightened production target. 

In this context, OCCAM has developed the Planthead Diagnostic Platform, a digital remote platform for plant disease diagnosis and prognosis. As conceived, this ICT tool promises to bring innovation in pre- and post-harvest management techniques and practices towards amelioration of crop protection. Today, it provides support to many farmers within the EWA-BELT Project in the timely detention and treatment of crop disease. Now in its testing phase, the Platform represents an ambitious project to the advantage of farmers, researchers and on-the-field agents, and is available for a widespread diffusion among small and larger-holder farming experiences globally. 

Learn more about the PlantHead Platform with Giovanni Zanoni, System Analyst at OCCAM, presented on the occasion of the second session of the 23rd Infopoverty World Conference dedicated to the Project on the theme “Poverty eradication and hunger: a first challenging priority for AI” on April 12, 2024 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

"Thank you, Mr. Bukuru. As Professor Seddaiu introduced earlier, within the spectrum of ICT tools developed by the EWA-BELT Consortium, the PlantHead platform stands out as a pivotal instrument for plant testing and disease detection. Developed by OCCAM, the Observatory on Digital Communication, as part of task 3.1 in the EWABELT Project, and presented during the 2022 Infopoverty World Conference, Planthead Platform’s primary aim is to foster real-time diagnosis and eco-friendly crop protection to address food insecurity challenges.
Over the past year, OCCAM has worked to enhance the platform's functionality, focusing on improving user accessibility for farmers and integrating new automation features. Through collaborative efforts with African partners within the EWABELT consortium, a database featuring crop disease images and pest control measures from African case studies has been incorporated into the platform. This collaborative endeavor has culminated in the creation of a dataset comprising over 1,500 photos.
Today, the Planthead platform stands as an indispensable tool in the EWABELT Farmer Field Research Units (FFRUs), providing daily support to numerous farmers in the timely detection and treatment of crop diseases. We are now pleased to present first-hand experiences with the Planthead platform from FFRUs in Kenya, elucidating the step-by-step process that empowers farmers to promptly diagnose crop diseases.
Before showing you the video, I would like to thank Professor Sheila Okoth of the University of Nairobi and Professor Quirico Migheli of the University of Sassari for their significant contributions to the fields’ experimentations of the Planthead platform. Enjoy the video.
Thank you.

-Giovanni Zanoni,

System Analyst, OCCAM

Drawing from the insights emerged from the statements of the participants - stay tuned for more! - OCCAM drafted the Final declaration of the Conference, which includes suggestions, proposals and recommendations at all levels to cope with an ever-changing world where technologies, if adequately oriented and regulated, could be beneficial to a global socio-economic development in view of e-welfare for all, in the respect of human rights and UN principles. 

Alongside it, OCCAM outlined the Plan of Action that encompasses all the operative instances that emerged towards the achievement of the SDGs and the UN 2030 Agenda, dedicating particular attention to the best practices of the EWABELT Project and promoting scientific and policy recommendations for the benefit of the most disadvantaged communities, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. 

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OCCAM - Observatory on Digital Communication

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