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Nepali app developers win Microsoft award

  • Microsoft Imagine Cup 2018
- KRISHANA PRASAIN, Kathmandu

Aug 15, 2018-

A mobile app developed by a Nepali team that can diagnose plant diseases from a photo of the leaf has won the Microsoft Imagine Cup 2018 award.

The app named Agrovet developed by Team SochWare surpassed 49 competitors from the world’s best universities under the Artificial Intelligence (AI) category in the US recently. Team SochWare received the award at the 16th annual Microsoft Imagine Cup Global Finals held in the US from July 22-25.

The mobile application developed by Team SochWare not only identifies plant diseases but also advises farmers about farming technologies, connects them to experts and provides information on the weather.

Milan Thapa from the College of Information Technology and Engineering, Eeda Rijal from Nepal Engineering College and Shishir Shrestha from Madan Bhandari Memorial College jointly developed the mobile app which can detect diseases in plants and recommend remedies. The team was awarded a title trophy, $15,000 cash prize and $10,000 Azure Grant.

“It was a proud moment for us to be the winner among competitors from the world’s best universities under the AI category,” said Milan Thapa, chief technology officer at SochWare.

The concept was developed by the team bearing in mind that Nepal is an agrarian country and farmers have to work extra hard due to lack of innovative solutions. The app can help farmers improve agriculture.

The team also took part in the competition last year and ended being among the top five national finalists. This year, the team applied for the competition directly on the Southeast Asia online qualifier. They qualified for the Asia Pacific Regional Finals that took place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on April 5. The team secured a place in world finals after winning a spot among the top seven finalists in the regional competition.

The E-Agrovet app detects plant disease and suggests the best treatment to apply with a few clicks. It also advises farmers how they can apply homemade or chemical pesticides to the infected plant. The app also connects farmers with experts located in different parts of the country. To use the app, an internet connection or mobile data is required. The mobile app assists farmers to improve agricultural productivity.

Agrovet provides advice on how to produce healthy foods by making minimum use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides. The app also supports the local language and has been developed in an easy graphical format, making it easy for even people with very little education to use it. The team is planning to introduce the mobile app soon in the market with the help of the Nepal Agriculture Research Council (NARC).

The 16th annual Microsoft Imagine Cup Global Finals brought together 49 young technologists from 33 countries. Competitors were selected through a series of country and regional finals, including seven teams from the Imagine Cup Southeast Asian regional final that the US Department of State’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs co-hosted.

Published: 15-08-2018 08:51

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