Ethiopia: Young innovators win trophy for a mobile app that detects plant diseases

Established by two young Engineers, Debo Engineering PLC has become the Ethiopian country winner in MEST Africa Challenge Country Finals and win community voice competing with eight African countries.

Boaz Berhanu and Jermia Bayisa, are co-founders of Debo Engineering, a software company located in Jimma Ethiopia for solving the problem of the community. Debo engineering is an integrated engineering discipline organization based recently on emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, ML, IOT, Image Processing, Big Data analysis, mobile computing, and any field related to engineering. Debo design, analyzes, develop, and implement smart business applications solution for any problems that need Digital solution for agriculture, transportation, health, education, and other sectors.

Debo represented Ethiopia; the country finalists put forth innovative ideas covering multiple facets of the technology industry. Their innovation used in agriculture, education, health and others proved that Africa has so much ingenuity and talent to offer the world, and the best is yet to come.

Boaz Berhanu, the Co-founder of Debo Engineering PLC told The Ethiopian Herald that we presented our creativity in different stages and the current drone technology which means Plant disease detection monitoring and prevention application is the best creativity in defending problems related to agriculture.

Boaz said that Debo Engineering has developed an algorithm that automatically detects and classifies plate disease through image detection. It works on web and mobile application and our system can detect with great accuracy and also show the counter measure to be taken. “We can tell our disease to the concerned body looking for solution to our problems and people can understand us. But plants do not have the ability to do so.”

The developed algorithm automatically detects and classifies plant diseases through image detection. It is important for farmers to easily detect the problems and especially for big agricultural lands. By using this technology farmers can monitor their farm lands via mobile application which is functional in four local languages. The algorithm also has the capability of early disease detection on large commercial farms to be happened and ability to identify over 24 diseases, Boaz indicated.

The digital solution can be accessed via mobile phones or through the web. They presented a plant-based disease detection, monitoring, and prevention app currently with over 71,000 photos in their database, functionality in four local languages English, Afaan Oromoo, Amharic, and Tigrigna and also have voice assistance for the hearing impaired. The application will be launched near on Google play store, Boaz says.

In partnership with leading technology giant, Microsoft, and ecosystem partners; competing with different groups we became Ethiopia finalist for the MEST Africa 2020 challenge, gearing to compete against the eight other country winners in the grand finale for a chance to win $50,000 in equity funding.

Jermia Bayisa the Co-founder of Debo Engineering PLC also confirmed that we competed in different stages locally and recognized and awarded by different institutions like Ministry of Agriculture, GIZ, CTA, ATA, and iceaddis, he says.

Ultimately, Debo Engineering was named the Ethiopian Country winner. “I think the startup is one of the most valuable startup in the continent. Our startup is the most valuable and it will benefit Ethiopian farmers in particular and the rest of African countries working in the sector in general as most of the continents economies depend on agriculture”, Jermia noted.

The judges evaluated each competing start-ups based on a variety of different criteria including value proposition, impact, customer identification, size of the target market, impact, revenue model, competitor analysis, growth strategy, traction-to-date and expertise of founding team.

Source: Ethiopian Herald.