Theofrida Muginga, a young female student at the University of Rwanda, spearheads the creation of ‘Mkulima GPT,’ a Swahili chatbot powered by ChatGPT. This innovative project aims to empower smallholder farmers by detecting crop diseases and offering culturally sensitive agricultural guidance. Named ‘Mkulima GPT,’ this groundbreaking initiative leverages the synergy of AI and IoT to assist small-scale farmers, particularly those with limited resources.
Theofrida Muginga, the founder of MKULIMA CHATGPT, shares her motivation, saying, “I come from an agricultural background, where farming is a way of life. Many farmers are often left behind in adopting technology. We are utilizing technologies like CHATGPT to bridge this gap, recognizing the immense potential of artificial intelligence in agriculture.”
What distinguishes ‘Mkulima GPT’ is its strong commitment to local languages and its ambitious goal of expanding its services to include more African languages. To ensure accessibility, ‘Mkulima GPT’ has already established an online presence through a dedicated website and a WhatsApp hotline where farmers can seek assistance on various topics, such as farm preparation, maize disease management, and post-harvest procedures.
“We anticipate that a significant number of farmers will embrace this technology, and we are actively exploring the possibility of incorporating Kinyarwanda into CHATGPT as well. During the development of the application, we engaged with farmers, and one prevalent issue we addressed was the management of [head] smut.”
“[Head] smut persists due to suboptimal practices, but the application continually reinforces good agricultural practices to prevent the recurrence of the disease. Currently undergoing testing, the project eagerly welcomes user feedback and is slated for launch in December. It will benefit from input from both agriculture and A.I. experts to further enhance its capabilities before reaching smallholder farmers.