AppleDoc: Agri-tech startup aiming to reform the Apple industry


dr Basharat Ahmed Bhat, a Srinagar-based researcher, has developed AppleDoc – an artificial intelligence-based apple growing precision decision support system that aims to advance apple growing and transform the way apple growing is done.

AppleDoc was presented on March 7, 2022 at the 7th Technology Exhibition Cum Seed Sale Mela at SKUAST-Kashmir.

“AppleDoc aims to provide farmers with data-driven solutions with real-time and weather-based advice on irrigation management, pest and nutrition management. It is also designed to connect farmers with input suppliers, experts from SKUAST-Kashmir, government programs, banks for subsidies and programs,” said Dr. brat

AppleDoc provides apple orchard growers with tailored and orchard-specific advice (real-time and reliable) on all aspects of plant health and disease diagnosis, plant nutrition and orchard management, as well as advice on the high-quality inputs required. This application seeks to reduce the apple’s chemical load by advocating wise use and the best quality sprays.

“Artificial Intelligence and IoTs R&D platform to build big data by retrieving the information (geo-spatial) from individual orchards, installing weather stations (both real and virtual), data analysis for custom (site-specific) information to Apple or , Environment and support human health,” he said.

dr Bhat has completed (CSE) from Islamic University of Science and Technology, from Jamia Hamdard, Ph.D from Shiv Nadar University (SNU) and PostDoc from University of Otago, New Zealand.

He said he was able to develop the mobile application by collaborating with SKUAST-K. He started working on this app in 2019 when an early rain had impacted more than 50 percent of total apple production in Kashmir.

“I was in New Zealand at the time. I decided to come back and start developing a weather-based and site-specific solution that would provide farmers with real-time information,” he said. The app is available for free on the Play Store and the App Store.”

dr Bhat said the technological system is designed to support smart farming practices that can reduce labor and inputs, wise use of crop chemicals and fertilizers to minimize negative environmental impacts and also increase yields.

“This is my idea and as a director of the company. I received funding through the Government of India’s BIRAC Big scheme,” he said.

The Apple industry is the backbone of the economy in J&K, said Dr. Bhat that this industry is expected to grow many times over in the coming years.

“This growth comes with the challenges of poor information dissemination, technology adoption, weak market connectivity and exploitation by intermediaries. R&D organizations and policy planners alike are handicapped because reliable big data is not available in real-time. This is affecting the future prospects of the industry and the adoption of new age technologies powered by AI/ML and automation is necessary,” he said.

He said the AI-driven intelligent system is a solution that offers growers site-specific and customized advice from bloom to basket.

It also provides orchard-specific nutrition and pest management, advice to stakeholders, support for the environment and human health by advocating wise use of crop chemicals and fertilizers based on data analytics, and has a direct link with experts at SKUAST-K .

dr Bhat said one of the main reasons agriculture is not being as sustainable or productive as expected is that there remains an element of unpredictability.

“Unexpected changes in climatic conditions around the world lead to numerous problems, including droughts, hail and a sharp rise or fall in temperature, which can also lead to the emergence of pest infestations or plant diseases,” he said.

AppleDoc is a robust and flexible apple orchard management platform that includes end-to-end data-driven decision-making solutions for multiple stakeholders.

“Its real-time satellite and weather-based advice enables accurate forecasts for planning agricultural activities, which can reduce chemical loads on apples, pollution, etc.,” he said.

He said officials such as Professor Haroon Rashid, VC of SKAUST, Professor Nazir Ahmad Ganai and other experts were instrumental in the project’s success.

while dr Bhat spoke about how the app is helping farmers, said Dr. Bhat that most fruit growers use the same techniques regardless of the weather and soil conditions. The app offers farmers an individual management plan.

“The app is connected to satellites and provides robust orchard-specific data. With expert advice from SKUAST-K scientists, AppleDoc provides dynamic spray and fertilizer schedules based on area weather,” he said.

This app also provides a complete irrigation schedule based on local field conditions and soil parameters, and also prepares for dry spells and other possible weather conditions.

Most farmers use general pesticides and fertilizers. The app introduces farmers to scientific farming practices such as:

“Farmers face many problems and are unprepared for weather conditions. This app will provide farmers with hourly weather updates. Farmers also invest heavily in chemicals, the app helps reduce that too. The use of any chemicals is also prevented by providing accurate data and expert opinions. This will help increase production at efficient costs and opt for science-based apple production,” said Dr. brat

He said that the app is easy to use and doesn’t require much technical expertise to operate. In just a few steps, farmers have to register, upload their pictures and create a password to use the app securely.

“The app will also provide information via SMS and voice calls, helping farmers get updates even when there’s no internet connection,” he said.

The app was recently launched for Android and IOS users. He said reviews from farmers have helped make the app better with each passing day.

dr Bhat intends to add other agricultural products such as rice, cherries and walnuts to this project and help the farmers.

As the world moves towards smart farming, his app is a step to make the same thing happen in Kashmir and through this endeavor he wants to contribute through technology and help farmers to make the dream of science-based apple production in Kashmir come true .

He also plans precision spraying using drone technology, analytical input supply based on soil type, orchard location, etc., and a batch-based fertigation system over the next two years.

Using AppleDoc keeps farmers up to date on:


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