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喀麦隆的初创公司开发移动应用程序以帮助当地农民

2020-1-11 14:17

Landry Doko who co-founded Agrix Tech, a mobile application that detects plant diseases at primary stage by analyzing photos of the sick crops, is seen at the field in Dibombari, Cameroon, Dec. 6, 2019. (Photo by Jean Pierre Kepseu/Xinhua)2019年12月6日,Landry Doko在喀麦隆Dibombari的农田里与人共同创建了Agrix Tech公司,这是一款通过分析病虫害作物的照片来检测植物疾病的移动应用程序。(新华社摄)


雅温得,1月10日(新华社)——Bienvenue Nzonje Ngoul在喀麦隆西南部种西红柿已经四年了。由于未知的疾病,他的产量最近减少了。


“我的庄稼经常受到疾病的侵袭,这些疾病可以在一天之内让你瘫痪,”Ngoul说。为了避免冲击的重演,年轻的农民开始寻找解决办法。


当时他遇到了27岁的兰德里·多科(Landry Doko),后者是基于人工智能(AI)的移动应用程序Agrix Tech的联合创始人,该应用通过分析病虫害作物的照片来检测植物疾病的初级阶段,并提供化学和物理治疗以及预防措施。


去年12月,Doko去了Ngoul的农场测试他的工作。这个农场位于Dibombari的一个偏远地区,那里的网络信号很弱,就像非洲大部分农村地区一样,但是Doko的应用程序内置了所有的功能,可以在没有互联网的情况下使用。


结果证明,Ngoul's西红柿患上了早期枯萎病,这是一种几乎每个季节都可能发生的常见疾病。诊断是通过文本和声音传达的,以便那些受教育程度较低的农民容易理解。用户可以选择标准的或混杂的英语和法语,以及非洲语言,如豪萨语。


“我会去市场买推荐的治疗方法。这会增加我的产量,”Ngoul说。


有了机器学习、软件开发和作物病理学的背景,Doko的团队现在已经有了一个工作原型,包括西红柿、葡萄、土豆和玉米。


根据联合国粮食及农业组织(粮农组织)的数据,撒哈拉以南非洲地区大约有3300万个面积不到2公顷的小农场,占该地区所有农场的80%左右。Doko团队的目标是帮助这些小农“以更低的成本充分享受生产的果实”。


“根据我们的临时计划,我们将能够帮助我们的用户在5到10年内避免高达40%的收成损失,”他说。


如果Doko能帮助农民摆脱作物病害的困扰,那么如何在销售农产品时获利仍是一个关键的挑战。


对于31岁的企业家Herve Epome Nzengue来说,喀麦隆农民的辛勤劳作很难得到公平的价格。一些中间商以近乎赠送的价格从他们那里购买,然后高价卖给消费者。


2019年3月,Nzengue和他的团队创建了AgriApp,这是一个在线购物应用程序,将当地农民直接连接到最终消费者。到去年年底,大约700名农民,主要来自喀麦隆经济中心杜阿拉郊区,已经把他们的产品放到网上。


鲍里斯·约多姆·卡姆戈在杜阿拉经营养鱼场。三个月前,他被介绍使用了这款应用。


“以前,我们生产了很多,但很难销售,”卡姆戈说。“现在人们可以直接在家订购鱼,我们终于有了一个将产品商业化的解决方案。”


快递是Nzengue的核心业务之一。在这家初创企业的总部所在地杜阿拉,他组建了一支送货队伍,骑着中国制造的电动自行车穿梭于城市之间,以确保消费者打开桶子时,卡姆戈的鱼仍然能够蹦出来。


“农业是非洲的经济引擎。像喀麦隆这样的农业创新应该为结束非洲大陆的饥饿和贫困提供可持续的解决方案,”Nzengue说。

 

By Arison Tamfu

YAOUNDE, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- Bienvenue Nzonje Ngoul has been growing tomatoes in southwestern Cameroon for four years. His yields have dwindled recently due to unknown diseases.

"My crops are regularly attacked by illnesses and these can cripple you in one day," Ngoul said. To avoid a repeat of the shock, the young farmer set out to look for a solution.

That is when he met 27-year-old Landry Doko who co-founded Agrix Tech, an artificial intelligence (AI) based mobile application that detects plant diseases at primary stage by analyzing photos of the sick crops, and offers both chemical and physical treatment as well as preventive measures.

Last December, Doko went to Ngoul's farm to test his work. The farm is in a remote area in Dibombari where the network signal is weak like in most of Africa's rural zones, but Doko's app has everything built inside and can be used without internet.

It turned out that Ngoul's tomatoes suffered from early blight, a common disease that can occur nearly every season. The diagnosis is delivered through text and voice for the easy understanding of farmers who could be less literate. Users can chose standard or pidgin English and French, as well as African languages like Hausa.

"I will go to the market to buy the recommended treatments. This could increase my output," Ngoul said.

With backgrounds in machine learning, software development, and crop pathology, Doko's team has now made available a working prototype covering tomato, grape, potato, and corns.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), there are around 33 million small farms of less than two hectares in sub-Saharan Africa, representing about 80 percent of all farms in the region. The ambition of Doko's team is to help these smallholder famers "sufficiently live from the fruits of their production and at a lower cost."

"According to our provisional plan, we would be able to help our users avoid up to 40 percent harvest losses in 5 to 10 years," he said.

If Doko helps farmers clear headache of crop diseases, how to profitably sell the agricultural products remains a key challenge.

For 31-year-old entrepreneur Herve Epome Nzengue, Cameroon farmers hardly get fair pricing of their hard work. Some middlemen buy from them at almost give-away prices then sell at high prices to the consumers.

In March 2019, Nzengue and his team created AgriApp, an online shopping application that connects local farmers directly to final consumers. By the end of last year, some 700 farmers, primarily from the outskirts of Cameroon' economic center Douala, have put their products online.

Boris Youdom Kamgo runs fish farm in Douala. Three months ago, he was introduced to the app.

"Before, we produced a lot but had difficulties to sell them," Kamgo said. "Now people can just order for fish from homes and we finally have a solution to commercialize our products."

Express delivery is one of the key concepts of Nzengue's business. In Douala where the start-up is headquartered, he built up a team of deliverymen riding made-in-China electric bikes through the city to make sure Kamgo's fish could still pop out when consumers open the bucket.

"Agriculture is an economic engine for Africa. Agricultural innovations like what we have in Cameroon should provide sustainable solutions for ending hunger and poverty on the continent," Nzengue said.

 

 

原作者: ZYL 来自: xinhua