AgroTIC: Bridging the gap between farmers, agronomists, and merchants through smartphones and machine learning

Carlos Hinojosa, Karen Sanchez, Ariolfo Camacho, Henry Arguello

In recent years, fast technological advancements have led to the development of high-quality software and hardware, revolutionizing various industries such as the economy, health, industry, and agriculture. Specifically, applying information and communication technology (ICT) tools and the Internet of Things (IoT) in agriculture has improved productivity through sustainable food cultivation and environment preservation via efficient use of land and knowledge. However, limited access, high costs, and lack of training have created a considerable gap between farmers and ICT tools in some countries, e.g., Colombia. To address these challenges, we present AgroTIC, a smartphone-based application for agriculture that bridges the gap between farmers, agronomists, and merchants via ubiquitous technology and low-cost smartphones. AgroTIC enables farmers to monitor their crop health with the assistance of agronomists, image processing, and deep learning. Furthermore, when farmers are ready to market their agricultural products, AgroTIC provides a platform to connect them with merchants. We present a case study of the AgroTIC app among citrus fruit farmers from the Santander department in Colombia. Our study included over 200 farmers from more than 130 farms, and AgroTIC positively impacted their crop quality and production. The AgroTIC app was downloaded over 120 times during the study, and more than 170 farmers, agronomists, and merchants actively used the application.

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