By George P. Munene
Plantix is a mobile crop advisory app that helps farmers and extension workers diagnose issues with their crops and offers appropriate treatment measures. All this is available at a click of a button and at no cost to the farmer.
“Since I started using the app early last year my input cost has fallen by about a third while my yield output has almost doubled,” testifies Antony Ndwiga, a vegetable farmer at Makutano, Meru.
Plantix employs image recognition software that scans the precise pest, disease or nutrient deficiency and gives an immediate brief reply on the cause of the problem and the possible chemical and biological remedies.
According to the Plantix team, farmers who cannot download the app are also catered to as they can send pictures of their afflicted crops over WhatsApp and get a prompt diagnosis.
Added to this the app also helps farmers gain knowledge on the best farming practices for most major crops, crop diseases preventative measures as well as offering a tailored fertiliser application calculator.
First released in 2015,Plantix, christened the “mobile crop doctor” is proving a god sent for many crop farmers. “Getting ahold of reliable agronomic help is a major hustle; private agronomists are expensive while government extension officers will be ‘on the way to your farm’ for weeks. With Plantix’s integration of WhatsApp all I do is send a picture of my afflicted crop and have a clear diagnosis and possible remedy in short order.” explains Ndwiga.
Farmers can access localised weather forecasts for at least five days; participate in an online community of fellow farmers and scientists to discuss all matters crop farming. Farmers also get agricultural advice throughout the various planting seasons, post-harvest management and receive alerts if there’s a crop disease spreading in their region.
The app is user friendly, having an intuitive easy to master interface available in 18 local dialects–these features are crucial for most farmers who are older and not especially technologically conversant
“I have had little need for a plant health expert since I began using Plantix– I very much walk around with my very own pocket agronomist these days.” Antony says. With over 10 million downloads, many other farmers can testify to this.
Plantix on WhatsApp; +917876171002
Plantix app: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.peat.GartenBank&hl=en&gl=US