Moving ICT into the Development Paradigm



mPower’s Disease Alert Service GEOPOTATO has received Champion’s award of “WSIS Prizes 2019”, one of the most esteemed awards in ICT sector on Tuesday, 9 April 2019 during the WSIS Forum 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland. In this event ITU (International Telecommunication Union) has awarded and recognized successful initiatives by governments, private sector actors, civil society members and partnerships between all stakeholders for outstanding contribution towards strengthening the implementation of SDG outcomes.

Late blight is a primary disease of potato cultivation in Bangladesh as it is responsible for 25-47% crop loss. Bangladesh’s winter weather provides favorable condition for spatulation of fungi Phytophthora infestans, which causes this disease that can devastate potato plantations within a day. Using fungicide within frequent interval forms a protective layer over the foliage which prevents aerobic fungi zoospore to infect plants. This method of containment is very effective only if fungicide are sprayed before infestation period.

GEOPOTATO's predictive algorithm alerts farmer by automatically computing real time weather data from field and data from satellite image processing to measure if the conditions are favorable for late blight infestation. The preventive advice is sent 3 days in advance via SMS and voice messages and enable potato farmers to apply fungicide before their crops are likely to be infested with late blight. Thus GEOPOTATO not only empowers small holders to safeguard their livelihood but also stabilizes the entire value chain associated with potato trading. Potato is the secondary carbohydrate source of Bangladesh and important dietary source for impoverished populous hence GEOPOTATO has played a crucial role in food and nutrition security of the nation.

GEOPOTATO solution is implemented with a multinational consortium where partners are Agriculture Information Service (AIS), Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies and TerraSphere (Netherlands), ICCO Cooperation and Wageningen University & Research (Netherlands).

mPower’s Director of e-agriculture, Shah Mohammad Mushfiqur Rahman said, In last three years of operation GEOPOTATO service has gradually incorporated Munshiganj, Rangpur & Dinajpur districts. In the last potato season alone 41,812 beneficiaries has received fungicide application alert free of cost and has tremendous potential of scaling at national level.