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Israeli Startup Launches AI-Powered Alert App To Help Farmers

Saillog, a Tel Aviv-based agriculture tech startup founded just last year, has come up with an innovative way to help farmers stay ahead and devise a containment and management strategy.

The company launched a free smartphone app, Agrio, leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and computer vision algorithms to identify plant diseases and deficiencies. Agrio allows users to take images of crops they suspect are affected, upload them to the platform and, within moments, receive a diagnosis and recommendations on how to proceed.

The algorithms have been trained and tested by agronomists across the world, including Israel, India and the US, Saillog founder and CEO Nessi Benishti tells NoCamels. But should a case come up empty, the experts are on hand to assist, which also helps improve the algorithms, he explains.

The startup’s agricultural extension is led by Alon Ovadya, a plant protection expert with a decade of experience in the industry. A small-scale farmer himself in Israel, Ovadya functions as field operations manager and is in charge of communications with other farmers.

Last week, Saillog announced that it was rolling out a new feature, the AgrioShield, a first-of-its-kind alert system that notifies farmers of what notable diseases and pests were detected in the vicinity of their crops and what preventative measures can be taken to minimize damage.

“Sometimes, we see the images [uploaded by farmers] and it’s just too late, and it affects all their fields and it’s just so upsetting. We thought that if there was a way to alert them [of the threats], it would really help them avoid yield losses,” Benishti says.

According to his research, “about 30 percent of the world’s agricultural yield is lost due to improper management of crops, such as incorrect scanning, monitoring, and treating.”

According to Saillog, thousands of farmers across the world have already downloaded the Agrio app and are actively using it. Benishti says it’s particularly popular in North America, South America, Vietnam, and India and is among the top 100 apps in the educational category on Google Play in five countries. The app, available in 11 languages including English, French, Arabic, Hindi, Tamil, and Vietnamese, has over 10,000 downloads on Google Play and an almost 5-star rating.The AI-powered platform took less than a year to set up and by August 2017, the app was available for iPhone and Android users.

Users too appear to find great value in Saillog’s solutions. In an online exchange, a user from South Africa asks if the Agrio app can detect sugarcane infestations as he was not able to identify the potential disease. Benishti responds that while the algorithms don’t support sugarcane disease identification yet, Saillog’s board of experts would love to help once he uploads the images of the affected crops to the platform.

Saillog encourages user feedback and appears very responsive to questions and concerns. It emphasizes that there are constant updates and improvements to the algorithms and the alert system.

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Source: [Israeli Innovation News]

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