In Conversation: Wu Zeyin (Creator, Farmers' Assistant)

11-year old Westwood International School student Wu Zeyin has created an app, Farmers Assistant, which helps local farmers to keep track of their produce from the convenience of their mobile phones.

BW TechZone caught up with the sixth grader to learn more about his creation.

Please tell our readers a bit about yourself

I'm 11 years old and I currently school at Westwood International School in Gaborone. My hobbies include playing piano, reading and chess.

Tell us how you came up with the idea for Farmers Assistant

I came up with the idea when I was doing Global News for the school and I was looking at the news where Chinese teachers were teaching Botswana farmers how to use water trucks and grow rice. 

From there, i had the idea to create an app which would basically achieve the same mandate for the farmers in order to promote indigenous production of food.

At that time, I was preparing for the first Youth Artificial Intelligence and Future Media Global Innovation Challenge. I gave up my initial plan of developing a personal time management app, and decided to develop an app for agriculture.

How exactly does the app work?

Basically, the app gives farmers information which helps them keep track of their crops growth by providing alerts at the said crop's different stages of growth until its ready for harvest. Additionally, it provides other general info like how uch the seeds and crop itself cost as well as the time frame for growth.

The app supports eight crops commonly grown locally, including tomatoes, potatoes, onions, corn, carrots, cabbage, eggplant and radishes.

Farmers who use the application can click on the crop picture to see its planting node, watering needs, ripening time, seed price, selling price and yield.

After planting the seeds, farmers click the timer to start, and the application reminds them what to do at each stage.

Why did you decide to help Batswana farmers through the app?

I wanted to support the country's quest for self sufficiency in food production and i believed creating the app would be meaningful and help people. 

What were the main challenges you came across when creating the app?

The most challenging part was trying to make the timer for monitoring the crop growth.  But luckily, after a while, I found out there was a timer included on the library of the one of the packages i was using to develop the app.

How did you learn how to code?

I read books about Scratch (the programming language) and also took online courses on JavaScript and Python. 

What are some of the lessons you learnt when building the app?

I learnt to think outside the box when trying to create solutions.

Interview has been slightly edited for clarity

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