A field-based recommender system for crop disease detection using machine learning

Jonathan Omara, Estefania Talavera, Daniel Otim, Dan Turcza, Emmanuel Ofumbi, Godliver Owomugisha*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
7 Downloads (Pure)


This study investigates crop disease monitoring with real-time information feedback to smallholder farmers. Proper crop disease diagnosis tools and information about agricultural practices are key to growth and development in the agricultural sector. The research was piloted in a rural community of smallholder farmers having 100 farmers participating in a system that performs diagnosis on cassava diseases and provides advisory recommendation services with real-time information. Here, we present a field-based recommendation system that provides real-time feedback on crop disease diagnosis. Our recommender system is based on question–answer pairs, and it is built using machine learning and natural language processing techniques. We study and experiment with various algorithms that are considered state-of-the-art in the field. The best performance is achieved with the sentence BERT model (RetBERT), which obtains a BLEU score of 50.8%, which we think is limited by the limited amount of available data. The application tool integrates both online and offline services since farmers come from remote areas where internet is limited. Success in this study will result in a large trial to validate its applicability for use in alleviating the food security problem in sub-Saharan Africa.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1010804
JournalFrontiers in Artificial Intelligence
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Crop disease monitoring
  • Food security
  • Natural Language Processing (NLP)
  • Question-answer pairs
  • Recommendation systems
  • Smart farming


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