Advancements in agricultural technology are integral to safeguarding crops from disease and pests. Saillog, a Tel Aviv-based start-up, has developed an artificial intelligence tool that collects and shares real- time data with farmers regarding crop diseases and deficiencies, and tips for containing pests. The company launched a free smartphone app, Agrio, which allows users to take images of crops they suspect are affected, upload them to the platform, and within moments, receive a diagnosis and recommendations for follow-up steps. A new feature in the app, the AgrioShield, is a first-of-its-kind alert system that notifies farmers of what notable diseases and pests are detected in the vicinity of their crops and what preventative measures can be taken to minimize damage. It is currently programmed to report on some of the most prevalent pests, such as aphids (sap-sucking insects), black sigatoka (a leaf disease in banana plants caused by fungi), and late blight (an infestant that causes serious disease in tomatoes and potatoes and was responsible for the infamous Irish Potato Famine in the nineteenth century).
The algorithms have been developed and tested by agronomists across the world, including Israel, India, and the U.S. According to the company, about 30 percent of the world’s agricultural yield is lost due to improper management of crops, and these losses occur during the crop growth stage, when monitoring and pest prevention is critical. The platform took less than a year to set up and is available for iPhone and Android users. Thousands of farmers across the world are already active users of the Agrio app. It is 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.